Tech Your Kids Will Really Fall For

 

Now that school is (finally!) back in session, you might be looking for fun ways to keep the kids stimulated and learning but still having fun while at home. We like board games and hiking as much as anybody, but sometimes a little hands-on building and creating goes a long way towards getting your child(ren) interested in something new, or perhaps just learning a little more about their favorite activities and what makes them “go”.

smart toys

If your kids like computers, video games, robots, or construction, Botzees might be the tech for you. This smart toy brings together virtual and hands on play in a way that is both fun and educational. Kids will enjoy playing, and won’t feel like they are having more “ugh, learning” heaped on them.  Botzees, the newest toy from Pai Technology, is a new robotics kit that is meant for kids ages 4 and up. This is a great way to sit with your kids and learn together- I have to admit this is an area my son is far and away better then I typically. It’s fun to learn together, and he loves when he can show me things. With this kit, you and your kid(s) can build, program, and code. There are six pre-designed robots, or you can go all out and create your own.

Once you build your Botzee, it can “be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.” (as per Pai Technology) It is available for $100 at https://www.pai.technology/botzees and Amazon.

Labo

If you have a child that is into video gaming, there is a new construction toy available that enhances gameplay. Nintendo recently released Nintendo Labo, which is one part game and one part construction toy. According to  Nintendo, they “designed Labo as a way to teach principles of engineering, physics, and basic programming”. You and your child build the kit out of sheets of pre-cut cardboard (thick stuff, not the weak stuff that instantly falls apart on you) and other parts. These you then use with your Nintendo Switch and it’s joy cons, and the creation is what Nintendo is calling a “Toy Con”. You use your “toy con” to interact with software and games.  With the basic Starter Kit, you can build VR Goggles and a Labo Blaster to take on aliens (not my favorite aspect, honestly).  The Blaster Labo Toy-Con can be played with either one or two players. Everything is in VR.  Starter set is $39.99 at https://labo.nintendo.com/kits/

kirby's extra epic yarn

If you are looking for a fun and non-violent game to play with the kids, check out Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn. Rated “E” for everyone, it’s the latest in the Kirby series.  In this game, Kirby was banished by a baddie into a world where he is made of yarn. While that may seem like a problem, the plus side is that Kirby can transform himself into all sorts of awesome like tanks, UFOs, a dolphin, and more. He gets “power ups” that give him advantages like getting a sword or becoming a tornado. Of course, he still has his classic copying abilities. Collect treasure as you move along the game, and show them off with the “Street Pass” feature, or switch out of story mode into “Devilish Mode” to try to earn even more. There are also two minigames that feature Meta Knight and King Dedede.  Available for $39.99 at https://www.nintendo.com

 

Valentine Gifting From Companies that Give Back #ValentinesDay #Sustainable

If you want to shop sustainably this year, support small business, or like to avoid big box stores, I’ve got a shop for you. If you just like unique and high quality products at a reasonable price- this is a shop you will love. Marketplace Africa has clothing, bath and body products (and I’m in love with some of these already), purses, bags,- really, gifts for everyone on your list. Thoughtful gifts anyone would love to receive.

African body works

This website lets Africans can sell their one-of-a-kind handmade goods to the entire global market.  Anyone looking for a unique gift for the holidays can feel as good as the products they are buying, since they are purchasing directly from the source. Buying from small business owners in Africa boosts not only the store owner, but also the economy.

For more information on Marketplace Africa and to choose some fantastic gifts,  visit www.marketplaceafrica.com

Sudara creates ethically and sustainably sourced clothing for men, women, and children. This brand came about because of a desire to help women escape sex trafficking in India. 12 years ago, Sudara’s founder partnered with a sewing center in India and taught six women how to sew a pattern for pants.The year prior, she had been to India and heard story after story of women who were sold into sex slavery or were at high risk of being. The company was created to give woman the chance to have an education, a job with livable wages, and to be free.

ethical clothing

Sudara is a Certified B Corps company, which means they meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”. You know, the best of the best- the “good guys”.

The clothing is beautiful, as well. High quality, unique designs with fun colors and patterns, lots of options available. If you have not yet shopped with Sudara, I hope you take the time to give them a look now. Check them out on social media while you are at it, see what they have to offer- sudara.org  facebook  twitter  instagram

ethical clothing

Peace Frogs is a brand that encourages you to get outside, enjoy nature, and practices what they preach. They are helping to preserve the environment and giving back with purchases. Peace Frogs has been around for more then 30 years, and have “a long track record of giving back to charitable causes” while creating eco-friendly clothing and gear.  They have also  launched a #spreadthepeacecampaign that looks to bridge a divided nation. As per the company, “Today, in America, the country stands more divided than ever before, with constant fighting, name calling and general unrest, with social media and the news not doing anything to slow down the chaos. The Spread the Peace Campaign is a way for Peace Frogs to motivate people to be kind to one another and stop the hate, fighting and lack of tolerance. Peace Frogs wants to bring a sense of calm, peace and community back to a tense country that has forgotten how to love thy neighbor.”  The fun clothing, gear, stickers, and more promote joy, living in harmony, a healthy environment, and peace. For more information on Peace Frogs items or to purchase #spreadthepeace stickers, please visit: www.peacefrogs.com

ethical jewelery

Statement Peace (no relation to Peace Frogs) creates their “high vibration wooden jewelry” line designs and hand produces all of their “pieces of peace” in their South West Florida studio.  The company believes that energy is transferable, and that when you operate out of peace and love, that it is felt by all and creates a statement of peace. They want to transfer “passion, high vibrations and good juju with the intention that you feel our vibes” into the items they create. Each piece of jewelry is considered to be a work of art, and they convey this by including a custom designed wooden display stand with each item purchased. There is something special for everyone (men and women), from yoga lovers to outdoor enthusiasts. Rings, bracelets, and more are available. For every item purchased, they plant one tree.   Check out options at https://www.wearstatementpeace.com

show the love

Show the Love offers items that are each designed to showcase and inspire a specific sentiment. The jewelry is meant to inspire and to uplift the person who wears it. From feminist inspiration items to those inspiring others to speak up, to beautiful animal inspired themes, there is something everyone will love. Give a gift that is not only lovely but also inspiring and show the recipient that you are really thinking about them. Whatever they love, or perhaps would like more of in their life (happiness, calm, passion, etc) you can find something that will show your sentiment.

This company cares, and they show it not only with their designs, but also with the materials they use as well as the donations they give. Show The Love jewelry is made with recycled metals and ethically sourced stones. They also donate 25% of their proceeds, which they give to humanitarian and environmental causes. There are items for every budget, from $50 to a big splurge. These are fun, funky, unique, lovely items that your Valentine will cherish always. Visit the site at https://showthelove.com and see what you like best.

Giveaway- Win a Pair of Atom Compression Wear Socks #GiftGuide

Atom Compression Wear has highly comfortable, soft, and brightly colored compression socks and sleeves made with the benefits of milk fiber.  There are so many benefits of compression wear and milk fiber, these will help your tired legs, improve your circulation, and stay up with no endless tugging.

travel

For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m a huge fan of compression socks and sleeves and wear them nearly every day. I like the fun colors that Atom offers, and that they come in wide calf sizes as well. While I don’t think my calves are particularly wide, it seems most of the “fun” compression socks and sleeves are made for those with much slimmer calves then I (what can I say, I work out) so it’s good to be able to find them in sizes that fit.

Atom Compression Lanati Milk Fiber Classic Socks are great for athletes, runners, and anyone who plays a lot of sports. They are also perfect for those who spend all day on their feet, and find themselves with tired or swollen legs, ankles, or feet. Pregnant women find relief as well- I wish I had known about compression socks when I was pregnant. 

compression sleeves

I wear the heck out of them when on planes, it helps so much. Compression socks and sleeves really make a difference while flying or spending a long time in the car on a road trip.

I found these to be a little long for me, so I rolled them over at the knee. This did not make them tight or “squeezy”, and they did ease my legs. The sock portion was also a little large for my feet, but again, I also didn’t find it uncomfortable in sneakers, or even while relaxing in slippers or without anything on over them. That happens a lot with compression socks, the foot part is usually too big for me, and I usually do sleeves for that reason. Again, large calves. First world problems, right? But really, I like these a lot, and I’ve worn them quite often.

There are two main styles, Classic and Massage Milk Fiber Compression Socks that you can try to see which you like bettter.  One of you will be able to win a pair of classic socks to try out for yourself. Feel free to enter using the RC code below. Ends Jan. 17, 2019.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cute Stocking Stuffers #GiftGuide

Introducing Breakfast Monsters by Heidi Kenney – Super Impulse has partnered with the notorious artist behind the successful YUMMYs™ line (which had captured the attention from Seth Rogen and Emma Stone) to bring this new line of cute and spooky food plush items, Breakfast Monsters. They come in a mystery cereal box, with 9 soft and squishy plush options to choose from – you’re sure to find the one you KNEAD to complete breakfast.

Super Impulse also has the World’s Smallest Tiny Arcade, and it’s fully functional. You can now play Tiny Arcade Pac-Man, Frogger, Space Invaders, among other gameplay options anywhere. Providing a truly authentic gaming experience, it’s a blast from the past that is as much fun as it is a collector’s piece.

 

In addition, there’s a variety of World’s Smallest and World’s Coolest items to choose from. Including Hot Wheels, Fingerlings and more.

Schleich Toys and Playsets #GiftGuide

For great educational and entertaining toys that are authentically and beautifully detailed and can be passed down for generations, and hands-on way for kids to learn about and develop an appreciation for the world’s animals and their habitats, while fostering hours of imaginative play, check out Schleich Toys.

imaginative play

Children can get to know a variety of farm animals with Schleich’s Farm World range of toys. The lifelike Schleich creatures and play accessories inspire children to learn while they play, opening the “barn door” for fact-based as well as imaginative farm stories.

With Schleich’s Wild Life range, kids can trek through the Savannah, go on safari and experience thrilling adventures at the watering hole with lions, zebras and rhinos, as they get to know the jungle creatures that live in the dense, tropical rainforest.

Young horse lovers can visit the horses on the paddock, feed them in their stalls, transport them to tournaments and then brush them down in the wash area.

Small and nimble, big and strong, massive and winged, dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes – and kids can learn about them all with Schleich’s dynamic and “fierce” Dinosaurs range! From primordial giants like the T Rex and Kentrosaurus to the Raptors, there are enough amazing creatures to satisfy even the most intrepid young explorers.

Fun Toys for Creative Kids #GiftGuide

Looking for something fun to stimulate the mind of a creative child? These are a lot of fun, and we think your little Eisenstein will get a lot of play out of them.

imaginative play

One of our all time favorite toy companies, Schleich, has all sorts of new toys this year. That is in addition to the many amazing playsets and figures they already had- these don’t go out of style. For the child interested in dinosaurs, horses, farm life, sea life, Roman history, and so much more, these incredibly detailed figures are perfect for creative play and collecting.  The Schleich’s Wild Life range allows kids to walk through the wilds of the Savannah, take a safari, and see lions, zebras, and rhinoceros.  Individual animals are also available. Horse lovers will love Schleich’s Horse Club , which lets them take these majestic animals to tournaments and festivals, win best in show, feed and take care of them in stables, and more. Dinosaurs, sea life, Fairy wonderlands, and more are all available. Visit https://www.schleich-s.com/en/US/ to see what your child will enjoy.

girls toys

Kuroba, a new collectible that is a mix of Shopkins and BeyBlade, is newly available. Small and easy to put away, these toys are 16 different cube-shaped characters with funny, expressive faces and personalities. The toys are featured in a show on the Kuroba YouTube channel, where kids can watch the series of 1-4-minute shorts. The line includes a Training Pack to practice and enhance their skills, a Battle Pack for battle, and a Klash Arena playset to battle their Kuroba.  Find out more at https://playmatestoys.com/brands/kuroba/

hotwheels playset

Hot WheelsTM 50th Jumbo MegamatTM  is perfect for the car collector or enthusiast. This set comes with 2 HotWheels die cast cars, a foam mat with a city and roads that lets kids drive all over and go exploring without ruining your floors or tables, and is easily wiped clean. This is a special 50th anniversary playmat that comes with a collectible Hot Wheels poster. For ages 3+, $29.99.

family puzzles

For kids who like to make things fit or create, TCG has a beautiful line of puzzles for fans of any age. You can find all sorts of themes, from new hits like Fingerlings to classic skylines and everything in between. Kids or adults and whole families can get together and work on these. In addition, TCG has a puzzles and campaign to benefit the Autistic community, involving Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada since 2016. For some autistic people, puzzles help calm and stimulate, so it is a wonderful fit. Prices range from $3.99 for a 200 piece puzzle to $7.99 for a 1,000 piece puzzle.

underwater camera

For older kids that like to capture life, or adults who are on the go, travelers, adventurers, or anyone who would like a virtually “accident proof” camera built for life, check out GoPro. The new HERO7 Silver camera is basically the best priced holiday gifting camera. It features all the high-quality 4K video and 12MP photo, as well as GPS, voice control, electronic image stabilization, and more.

tough camera

At $299, HERO7 Silver gives you performance at a doable price. It goes where you go, underwater, into mud runs, ziplining, downhill skiing- you name it. Videos and photos are detailed, and you can opt for ultra-long time lapse video in 4K, as well as slow-mo in 2x or short videos that are easy for sharing.The Short Clips feature captures 15 second clips- easy as that. You can zoom, get selfies, burst shots, use a timer, and so many more features. Did I mention that (of course) there is an app for that? If that’s a little too expensive for you, the $199, HERO7 White is another option that still gives you tons of options for less money.

 

WIN a “Blast!” retro/classic videogame console from AtGames #GiftGuide

 AtGames Digital Media Inc., have released their latest classic video games- the Blast! family of products. The Blast! series of HDMI dongle and wireless controller bundles features eight to 20 classic titles per model.

blast video games

“This upcoming range of products represents an unprecedented value for families and gamers of all types,” says Dr. Ping-Kang Hsiung, CEO of AtGames. “With a wide selection of innovative, expandable HDMI dongle and wireless controller products with fun-to-play games of every type, there’s truly something here for everyone.”

The Blast! family includes the Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 1Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 2Activision Flashback Blast!Legends Flashback Blast! and Bandai Namco Flashback Blast!, all of which come with a USB-powered HDMI dongle that plugs directly into the TV and an ergonomic six-button wireless gamepad. The Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 3 swaps the wireless gamepad for a pair of wireless game paddles, which are specially optimized for its selection of classic paddle and ball games.

Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 1 features 20 Atari 2600 classics like Centipede, Millipede and Yars’ Revenge.

Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 2 features 20 Atari 2600 classics like Adventure, Asteroids and Missile Command.

Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 3. features 20 Atari 2600 paddle-based classics like Breakout, Pong and Warlords.

The Activision Flashback Blast! features 20 of the most iconic Activision home classics, including Pitfall!, H.E.R.O. and River Raid.

The Legends Flashback Blast! features Space Invaders and an additional 11 favorites like Burnin’ Rubber and Jungle Hunt.

The Bandai Namco Flashback Blast! features eight gaming mainstays, including Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug.

retro video games

Every Blast! includes high-definition video output, an intuitive menu system, save and resume game functionality and the ability to rewind a game in progress to recover from a play misstep. An optional second wireless gamepad can be purchased for games that support two players.

These “plug & play” products include an HDMI dongle and wireless controller bundles and feature eight to 20 classic videogame titles per model.

The Blast! family includes the Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 1Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 2Activision Flashback Blast!Legends Flashback Blast! and Bandai Namco Flashback Blast!, all of which come with a USB-powered HDMI dongle that plugs directly into the TV and an ergonomic six-button wireless gamepad. The Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 3 swaps the wireless gamepad for a pair of wireless game paddles, which are specially optimized for its selection of classic paddle and ball games.

Games featured include Centipede, Millipede, Yar’s Revenge, Asteroids, Missile Command, Pitfall, River Raid, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug.

Blast! family products retail for $19.99-$39.99.

One of you will be able to win a console- please feel free to use the RC form below to enter. Good Luck! Ends Jan 10, 2019.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last Minute Toy Shopping Under $20 #GiftGuide

 

Adorable plush Rescue Runts and Cinco Linko game are under $20 and available in-store at thousands of Walmart stores across the country. You can shop local and not worry about products shipping in timeThese toys are family-friendly, encourage creativity and offer year-round fun!

Cinco Linko (Big Potato)

Cinco Linko is a super-simple five-in-a-row tile game that you can clip to your bag and play on the go, no matter where you’re headed. With no game board required, any flat surface can be your playing field – whether it’s the coffee table at home, the tray table on an airplane or even the sand on the beach.

Learning is easy. Just choose a color, grab your stack and take turns laying down tiles side-by-side until someone manages to get five-in-a-row of their color, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Sounds simple, but when there’s players blocking you at every turn and a board without any boundaries, winning can go from simple to tricky in a flash. Run out of tiles? Well, that just means you’ll have to pick up the ones you’ve already placed and reposition them one by one until you manage to sneak your line of five past the other players.

Cinco Linko comes with 60 tiles (15 pink, 15 yellow, 15 green, 15 orange). The tiles stack easily onto four included racks that clip together with a connector to keep everything together on the go. Just use the included carabiner clip to hook Cinco Linko to your bag and you’re ready to play anyone, anywhere. Value: $9.99, 2-4 Players, Ages 8+, Available in Walmart Stores.

Rescue Runts (KD Kids)

Rescue Runts need a home to call their own! The super soft plush puppies and Limited Edition Rescue Runts Unicorn arrive in their crate packaging with matted fur full of fleas, dirty paws, bruises and bumps, tears in their eyes and downturned ears. Care for your Rescue Runt using the included grooming kit to pick out the fleas, remove the cast, clean the dirt from their paws, wipe away their tears and brush their messy fur. Perk up their ears to complete the transformation from ragged runt to perfect pet! Choose a name and write it on the collar to make the adoption official.

Just like any pet, Rescue Runts will need regular grooming, love and care so kids can engage in repeated animal rescue play. Rescue Runts’ fur will become messy again over time, so brunch them each day to keep them well-groomed. Dirt will reappear on their paws, so clean them up again and again! Rewrap the cast to care for their injuries. Place the fleas in their fur and tweeze them out. Flip their ears up or down to go from happy to sad.  Rescue Runts include one pet, a brush, collar, tweezers and towel.  MSRP $19.99, Ages 3+, Available at Walmart