If you have kids, chances are you are aware of the epic game that is Minecraft. It took me a while to figure it out, and chances are if you are new to the scene you need to have the intricacies of Minecraft explained as well. Available in gaming console or computer version or on tablets, this spatially-rich building game allows your character to build a three-dimensional world while avoiding zombies, creepers, spiders, skeletons and endermen. Our whole family plays and the experiences we’ve had have given us bonding time and amazing memories.
As the amount of information on the internet multiplied by infinity every day, much of that vastness is an uninspiring wasteland made mostly of cat videos and epic fails at it’s best and venomous hate and degrading pornography at it’s worst. Some days it’s hard to find the one gem that’s worth learning from. But there is a lot of great content out there, and I’ve found YouTube to be a particularly great resource, especially to enhance my children’s understanding of the world. Will education on YouTube work in your home? My guess is yes.
Recently I attended the Pokémon Sun and Moon launch event here in Toronto. This year is the 20th anniversary of Pokémon. Did that make you feel old? Thankfully I had my next generation Pokémon fan with me to talk me through the games.
In case you’ve been living under a rock this year, Pokémon saw a huge resurgence with the wildly popular PokémonGo. While that game has pulled in the masses, the true fans have been wait for the launch of Pokémon Sun and Moon games for the Nintendo 3DS.
I’ve always found grandparent gifts really hard to choose. They love sentimental, heartfelt items, but often your family photos are buried on hard disks and you’re not quite organized enough to find that great art piece that was painted last year. Hopefully these grandparent gift ideas strike a chord!
Testing a microwave is a tough one for me. I tend to use few features, and when I use my microwave I’m in a rush. Manuals seem unnecessary, and, really, aren’t all microwaves the same? I thought so until now. Breville has come up with a new model called the Quick Touch Crisp that not only does the normal stuff like popcorn and eggs very well, but comes with a crisper pan for use in the actual microwave that gets food crispy on the bottom. No more soggy pizza with burnt cheese on the plate.
People talk about how kids obsessed with a video game are robbed of their childhoods. There are countless articles out there about how terrible technology is for children. This isn’t one of them. We’re a tech forward family. My husband and I both have jobs that rely on technology in some way and I’ve always been a gadget geek.
My son learned about Yo-Kai Watch last year. Grade 1 was rough for him. He felt isolated in school, made few friends and was picked on. He really connected to the story of the Yo-Kai and their friend Nate and we got the game for his Nintendo 3DS.
Raise your hand if you’re a Star Wars fan, married to a Star Wars fan or raising a Star Wars fan. If your hand is up, you probably know that Force Friday is the day when all the new Star Wars toys, gadgets, and gizmos are released for the holiday season.
Last year, Sphero took the world by storm with their BB-8 droid. This little robot toy rolled it’s way into the hearts of kids, leading tech writers and regular old Star Wars-loving moms like me. This year, it’s even better. I had the chance to attend a special sneak peek of Sphero’s lineup for Force Friday and it does not disappoint.
Being tied down is always horrible. Especially is if costs a ton of money and you can’t get our of contracts. That’s why carrying an unlocked smartphone is a smart move. The new Huawei Honor 8 unlocked smartphone is now available in an exclusive Sapphire Blue colorway only at Best Buy (online and in store), and will be the perfect accessory to carry you into fall.
My kids are going back to school next week and I know, as always, there will be a period of adjustment while we get used to the new routine. And with my oldest off to Grade 6 and the increased independence that entails—it’s not just the kids who will take a while to adjust to the new world order. With a home that’s on a busy street in a big city and a new routine and, safety is a big concern for me, so when I was offered an opportunity to review the Netatmo Welcome Camera, I jumped at the chance.
My daughter just started preschool and all I can think about is how fast time flies. As parents, I guess we don’t really see the time passing us by until the day we watch our babies walk…out the door for their first day of university.
“Wait..what do you mean you don’t need your blankie anymore?!”
But enough projecting, sometimes it’s all we can do to keep up with their learning pace, so when my three and a half year old started correcting me in our dialogue, I realized that it might be time to get her into preschool.
So much has changed in the school system since my time, and (as a writer and a self-proclaimed anglophile/English history fanatic) I was really sad to hear about the phasing out of cursive writing in schools. Handwriting is an art, perhaps, but it also serves a very basic and necessary function: communication. Once cursive is gone, it won’t be long before the almighty type will begin to chip away at all the options for putting pen to paper. But I will be here to set the example for my child—when she’s ready, she’ll learn it from me.
In my early school years, we only had one television—the kind with five aerial channels and no remote control. After my parents separated, my mother kept the TV in her bedroom so my sister and I wouldn’t grow up to be “idiot box” junkies. If Mom fell asleep with the TV on, I’d sneak into her bedroom to catch Rocket Robin Hood early in the morning. I sat on the floor and watched the cheesy animation with delight. Eventually we got a second television in the living room. I don’t know if I became a junkie, but I certainly took in my fair share of cartoons with glee. Superheroes, sword wielding princesses, young women with dual lives as rock stars, anthropomorphic lions, and robots enhanced my cartoon repertoire and imaginative play. My enjoyment of animation never went away. In fact, I think I watch more cartoons than either my husband or my son.
We’re in the home-stretch of summer and my kids are getting fidgety. I don’t want them constantly watching TV or allowing them to morph into screen zombies, and yet their creativity is waning. Sending them outside on bug hunts, creating forts and harvesting their gardens has come and gone. We all know how crucial toys, games and play are for a child’s development, but sometimes we all run out of ideas. Thankfully we found a way to power up the imagination!