Thursday, December 13 2012 12:52

Holiday Gift Guide: Learning Apps from PBS KIDS...

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pbskidsappThe folks over at PBS KIDS have 20+ educational mobile apps available for download. In addition, they recently conducted a study that revealed that fifty-eight percent (58%) of parents of kids 2-10 reported that they will “most likely” or “definitely” be purchasing downloadable gifts such as apps, games, e-books and digital music this holiday season. Are you a tech-savvy family? Is your toddler a gadget wizard? If so, here's some recent Apps from PBS KIDS that would make great gifts...

Wednesday, December 05 2012 00:16

Holiday Gift Guide: Little Passports (Learning Play)

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Little PassportsThere have been a lot of cool "Monthly Subscription" activities popping up for kids lately, and one that just hit my radar here at Rock Father HQ is Little Passports. A perfect holiday gift idea that's both fun and educational, Little Passports delivers kids a package each month from "Sam and Sofia," a pair of characters that visit different states and countries, and then share their experiences. Inside each package is a collection of fun activities and souvenirs.

If you grew up in the 1980's as did I, chances are you probably watched more than a few episodes of HE-MAN. In our house, we were big fans of both MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and the later SHE-RA: PRINCESS OF POWER series. We had a pretty extensive collection of the now-classic Mattel toys (I wish I still had them), and the shows were after-school staples. While I've been trying to lure my oldest daughter into that world via reruns on Qubo and some DVD's we have, the folks over at 80sTees have the perfect holiday gift for the HE-MAN fan that now has grown up to have kids of their own... a Christmas "Faux Sweater" (alright, it's a sweatshirt) featuring HE-MAN & SHE-RA.

floppetsdisplayWhen FLOPPETS first hit my radar earlier this year, I'll be honest - I wasn't that interested. I'd only seen them online, but sometimes it takes first-hand experience to win someone over, and in this case, that's exactly what happened. I'd been expecting a package from a PR firm I deal with here at Rock Father HQ, and when it arrived, in the bottom of the box happened to be a handful of Floppets, probably tossed-in with hopes of catching my eye. They did - but they caught my daughter's eye first.

gg turtleTranquil Turtle by Cloud B
Our first daughter loved her Cloud B Sleep Sheep, and now our second daughter has the Tranquil Turtle. This little guy provides soothing sounds and light with an underwater pattern and wave motion, the perfect nighttime companion to help children sleep. If I were to describe the Tranquil Turtle in just one word, it would be "mesmerizing." 

pretracker-03-500EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale
For the health-conscious parent (or parent like me that's trying to drop some pounds), the Precision Tracker Bathroom Scale from EatSmart Products really is a phenomenal piece of technology for the home. Already in use here at Rock Father HQ, this scale is light-years ahead of any other scale we've ever owned previously. The glass-topped unit is exceptionally sleek, reminiscent of an iPad or other tablet, yet it's low-profile rests firmly against your floor. The programmable touch-screen stores user profiles for up to 10 users and enables tracking of weight between sessions.

gg moosCuddle Barn Musical Plush (Pop Star-Inspired)
With their musical connection, this trio of animated plush from Cuddle Barn caught The Rock Father's eye. MOOS LIKE JAGGER dances and sings to his own version of the Maroon 5 hit, "Moves Like Jagger"; HEARTTHROB HENRY grooves to his version of the One Direction hit "What Makes You Beautiful"; SASSY SALLY is inspired by Selena Gomez, singing “Love You Like a Love Song”. Though Gomez recently split from boyfriend Justin Bieber (or are they back on now?), the latter plush makes a fine companion for Cuddle Barn's (Justin) BEAVER that was released last year and sings "Baby."

Call of Duty - Black Ops 2Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (XBOX 360, PS3, Wii)
There's a reason I post those "Daddy Shooting Pixels" posts here on The Rock Father - sometimes Dad needs to fire up the XBOX 360 and blow off a little steam. My battlefield of choice tends to be Activision's CALL OF DUTY series, and while I was a little underhelmed by last years entry (Modern Warfare 3), this year brings CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2 - a step into the future (literally), as the action takes place largely in 2025. NOT FOR THE KIDS, this one is for grownups only!

gg nodgiftbagThe Land of Nod Baby Gift Bag
Many times I've found that it's fun to assemble a basket or gift bag full of fun items for someone with a new arrival. Unfortunately, time is sometimes a factor, and for the busy gifter, The Land of Nod offers a pair of baby gift bags available in Large ($99) or Jumbo ($149, pictured left) sizes. Each offers an assortment of cute items (books, blocks, rings, flash cards, and more) all packaged in a handy canvas tote bag.

skylanders ggSkylanders Giants (XBOX 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U)
In 2011, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was a surprise hit that became a massive phenomenon. Now, the Skylanders are back for another cross-platform adventure in SKYLANDERS GIANTS. With a new story, a ton of new characters, and yes, loads of new toys. Genius marketing to tie the video game into physical toys, but also a  fantastic play experience.

gg dollhouseMy First Dollhouse by Fisher-Price
This isn't a "new" item, as it's been on the market for several years. But, it's such a great item that I've been recommending it ever since my oldest daughter received one for Christmas two years ago. Truly the perfect "first" dollhouse, this playset is sturdy, easy-to-clean, and provides lasting fun. Two years-running and this is still played with DAILY here at Rock Father HQ. Available in both Caucasian or African-American editions, a variety of add-on sets including characters and furniture are available. We have them all.

gg daisy200Daisy Rock specifically makes "Girl Guitars," and for those of you with a daughter on-track to become a rock star, a starter guitar makes a great Holiday Gift. The Daisy Rock Debutante Junior Miss Acoustic Guitar Pack contains a Junior-sized guitar, picks, a strap, and an electronic tuner - all the basic supplies for a girl to get rocking right out of the box - all for under $100 through Guitar Center.

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