Tag Archives: kids

Ruckus Reader Giveaway

Ok, we all know how much I love my tech with my tablets and apps. Well, I can’t be totally selfish. I occasionally will share with my kids. And if I am going to share my toys they will be learning something (homeschooling mantra;)! But I haven’t found a lot of the reading apps to be very educational. But I love Ruckus Media and their apps so I was very stoked to get a chance to review the Ruckus Reader Apps for iPad with my 5 year old (as of yesterday), NerdPud.

As I said, I am a bit of a reading app cynic. I tend to find them to be extremely easy or extremely hard and neither is something that will actually help my last child to learn how to fluently read. But I thought if nothing else she would have fun. Well, I am very happy to have been wrong. She loves it and she is learning!!!!

The first time we cracked open any of the Ruckus Reader apps was at the dentist. We opened up the My Little Pony level 1 book while we were waiting for the other kids to get done with their cleanings. She starts giggling in anticipation and frankly, who doesn’t love that giggle;)? We chose to have it read to her but she still got an opportunity to do word recognition and a reading too. The art is great and book choices are phenomenal! There are just enough activities for the kids to do within the story so that they never become bored and tune out. And every time we are using any of the Ruckus Reader apps her older siblings (who all read well) want to come watch instead of reading their own books they picked out.

The fact you can choose either to have the app read the story to you or not really helps make this a very versatile app. My 6 year old really enjoyed reading and playing the Transformers level 3 book but didn’t need it to read it to him. I also love the fact that you can record some one else reading the story. I would do more of that if I actually left my iPad when I traveled (but alas, I am not that nice;).

Of course part of the perks of reviewing an app is that I usually get all the paid features. And there are some good ones that come with the paid iLibrary subscription. I really like the Reading Meter reports that I get emailed to me! It means that I can allow the kids to play with the app without having to completely hover over them to see how much they get right or understand. It gives them a little space but leaves me in the position to be fully aware, the best of both worlds. I also like having access to all the books. And both those things come with the paid iLibrary subscription.

A review wouldn’t be balanced without some cons. The one I really see it that I wish there was some books that are a little more simple, like bob books. Because these are all character driven some of the names are hard and even the level 1 books are challenging to a new reader. It isn’t a horrible thing but something I feel the apps could use. Since NerdPud has been reading the Bob books I thought she would do a little better with the level 1 books but with the Transformers and the like, she didn’t do very well in reading along. She did ok at the activities but I was hoping for the actually reading to be easier. It isn’t a deal breaker but not everything can be perfect;).

On the whole if you are looking for a premium app for reading I would definitely recommend Ruckus Reader. And on that note…..

I have some subscriptions to giveaway!!!! The folks over at Ruckus Media have graciously decided to giveaway 1 six month iLibrary subscription and 2 one month iLibrary subscriptions!

To enter you must register for free with Ruckus Reader then come back and let me know that you have done it by leaving me a comment! Make sure you leave your email so I can contact you if you win.

After you register there are some things you can do for extra entries! Leave a separate comment for each one that you do.

This giveaway will close on June 26, 2012 and the winners will have 24 hours to respond.

(Disclosure: I did receive the Ruckus Reader app and iLbrary subscription from Ruckus Media to review. All opinions and words are mine and mine alone!)

Beamz & Beaming Kids

A great surprise in the mail!

My kids love getting surprise boxes in the mail!!! (ok, so I knew it was coming;) I first saw Beamz at CES back in January this year and thought was great! Beamz is a light based interface that lets you play musical instruments along with a song on a computer. I was stoked when I got a chance to review one with my kids.

Just take it out of the box and you are almost ready to go!

It is super easy to set up and play! You take Beams out of the box and plug it into your PC via a mini usb cable. Then pop in the cd, click to install and then add the libraries to your computer. You are ready to play!

On board controls

You can change songs, switch instruments, start and stop songs, etc very easily. You can control it on the computer using a mouse or using the on board controls. The kids found it very easy to control using the on board controls. And you don’t have to figure out what they are because you get a legend with the Beamz.

There are so many song choices in Beamz and there are new ones being added all the time! You can go through and chose songs by genre, including a kids genre with Old MacDonald. There are also multiple instruments that you can play with each song. It just takes a button push to change instruments and tempo. The kids also like recording their creation and then dancing to it on play back!

So much fun!!!!

It is so much fun that they can play it together! What you don’t see it their 2 sisters dancing;).

(“This product has been provided as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. While they provided the subject, all opinions are purely mine! #CBias)

Verizon: Keeping Cell Phones Safe for Kids

Recently I was blessed to attended a meeting of bloggers and some of Verizon’s best in San Francisco. It was a two way meeting, we learned about some of their products and Verizon learned our very blatant opinions;). One of the areas I learned a lot about is 3 packages available to parents to help keep their children safe on both their cell phones and in life.

One of the things I love that is universal to all of these packages is that the controls are not set on the physical phone! You go to you My Verizon site where the rest of your account data lives. Then you can set up the packages per phone from there. It is a little less hackable by your kids. Not completely but much better than having it on a phone they play with constantly;).

Let’s start with the free tools, because you know free is my favorite;). Content filters available for free on their phones. What does that men? It means that you can choose a rating for a phone and the media center material, song downloads, V-Cast material and websites will be blocked or allowed according to that rating. Your rating choices are C7+, T13+, YA 17+ and of course there is always the filter off option. I think it is a super easy step that every parent on Verizon should be taking! It just takes a second to set up and you can change the settings as the kids get older or phones get passed down.

The next package is Usage Control. This currently runs $4.99 a line. It has a few areas. the first is Usage Limits. You can go in and set up how many texts your kids can send or how much data or minutes they can use so you aren’t charged with go over your plan! You can also set limits on how much they can spend on the extras like ringtones, apps and music. You also can set up time restrictions. If your child isn’t supposed to use their phone while they are at school you can set it up that during those hours the only calls that can be made are from “trusted” numbers that you set up. So they can’t text or call their friends but can call you! You can also block numbers, emails, screen names, the like. This can be that extra step of protection or just help to limit contact with someone who isn’t the best influence. My favorite part is the trusted numbers. No matter how much you limit the phone’s usage they can always make and receive calls from the numbers you list under this feature!

The last safeguard is the Family Locator program. This runs $4.99 a line or $9.99 per account. I like their description better than my own;).

From your PC, phone or tablet, enjoy the comfort of knowing you can check on the location of family members’ phones. Family Locator is a simple, secure service that allows you to:
Receive arrival & departure updates for each family member. A Verizon Wireless exclusive!
Locate your family members.
Create scheduled location updates for each family member.
Now available as an Android app and Web app for iPhone (fl.vzw.com on your phone’s browser).
Enjoy your first month free!

If this is something you are interested in make sure you try it out while they are offering a free month!!!

I learned lots of other cool things at my Verizon trip and there will be more posts! They really are trying to create more than just a cell phone carrier. They are attempting to partner with their customers to live a full digital life and they are thinking about all sides of that. Including safety for us and our children!

(Disclosure: I did get a trip to visit Verizon but all opinions and thoughts are mine and mine alone!)

Who?Comics App

Thank you to who?Comics for sponsoring this post and encouraging my child to read biographies in comic book form! Please click here to learn more about the app. And follow who? Comics on Twitter for updates

As you all know, I am a big fan of reading and an even bigger fan of learning! So you can just imagine how excited I was to  receive the opportunity to use the who?Comics app on my iPad with my kids!

Who?Comics is a free app and it comes with 2 books. There are 27 other books available for purchase. Some are sold individually but there are also packs available.  Which of course, are a better deal;). So I got the Scientists pack (surprise, surprise;).  Right off we checked out Marie Curie and Thomas Edison!

Here is a little detail you should know going in. These comics are not the super quick, over view type comics. There are 150 pages of details about the subject’s personal life. Which means it isn’t a quick read! I was very familiar with Marie Curie and I learned so much! NerdPie and I even cried at 2 different spots.

So what is my overall feel? Well, I love the idea of having these on the iPad for easy access! The art is clear and the story line moves at a good clip. This isn’t going to be a situation where you can read the whole thing in the doctor’s waiting room and that can be a good thing. This app was developed over seas and so there are a few translation issues. Due to that and the fact that these really deal with real life situations, I would make sure you child is near you when they read them. I had to explain about certain illnesses and certain historical events that were mentioned in the books we read. There was an assumption that the kids understood everything but mine had quite gotten there yet. (For example, why and how Poland was being occupied By Russia and how they weren’t supposed to speak Polish.)

My kids thoroughly enjoyed these comics! My kids are even asking for books from the library so they can learn even more! Both about the people in the stories and the science they discovered!

Thank you again to who? Comics for sponsoring my post. Please click here to learn more about the app. Visit who? Comics for updates. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #CleverWhoComics #spon

Win a Dell Laptop!!!

I think Lady Geek TV is so cute! It is a series over on YouTube sponsored by Kaspersky and always has a great computer safety message. My kids love it too! But what I love more than just the show is that I won a Dell laptop from them last week!

This week’s episode focuses on ridding yourself of icky content and they have another Dell Laptop Giveaway!

So watch the video and enter!!!

Wii Game Giveaway!!!!

For those of you who have been living under a rock and without a calendar….. Christmas is coming!!! In the spirit of Christmas I have a Nintendo Wii game to giveaway!

The Game Factory has published a great family friendly game called Build-A-Bear Workshop: A Friend Fur All Seasons. This is the perfect family game because it is for ages 3+ and can be for anywhere from 1 to 4 players. Build-A-Bear Workshop® entertainment experience allows up to four players to name, groom, feed and dress their bear using the revolutionary Wii™ remote. The game allows players to join their customized bear on adventures to explore islands, meet inhabitants and help furry friends.

Build-A-Bear Workshop: A Friend Fur All Seasons allows full interaction between the player and her/his furry friend in a variety of 20 fun mini-games, from throwing Frisbees to ice-skating. Four islands season-themed wait to be explored and six treasure spots hold magical chests! Developed for children and families, Build-A-Bear Workshop: A Friend Fur All Seasons packs fun for the whole family and allows players to take full advantage of the unique features of the Nintendo Wii™ game system. It is available at Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart and others.

Charity and Cool Stuff!

Build A Bear will be auctioning off celebrity-built Build-A-Bear Workshop bears, along with autographed copies of the Build-A-Bear Wii game. These bears and signed games will be on eBay’s Giving Works to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. These one-of-a-kind bears were built by celebrities like Tori Spelling & Dean McDermott, the Jonas Brothers, James Gandolfini, Melissa Joan Hart, Bonnie Hunt, Mitchel Musso, Meaghan Jette Martin and more.

Win it!

How would you like to win a copy of Build A Bear Worshop: A Friend Fur All Seasons for your family? To enter:

* Stop by the Build A Bear Auction before Dec 3rd and check out the cool bears they have.
* Then come back and mention in comments which bear is your favorite. That’s it!
* A random winner will be selected and notified on Dec 7th.
* The winner will then have 3 days to claim their prize.

To earn extra entries, you may do one or all of the following. Each one counts as an extra ticket but you must leave a separate comment for each one.

* Subscribe to my feed.
* Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back here and to The Game Factory.

This giveaway is open to addresses within the US and Canada. Please leave a way to contact you in case you win.

(This is a FRN post)