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THE ROCK FATHER™ has been compensated for this shop by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are that of James Zahn. #PlayNGrow #CollectiveBias

Is it possible that toys can help children learn to deal with their emotions? While we've discussed a variety of "learning" toys at length over the years, I've never really written about the emotional consequences or benefits of play. Of course, toys are a big part of the emotional development of a child, but the possibilities have perhaps never been quite as defined as they are with the new toys based on Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. As family films become more layered and sophisticated (Walt Disney Animation Studios' BIG HERO 6 is a prime recent example), the subject matter lends itself to opening up important conversations about life issues, and emotion is what INSIDE OUT is all about. On one of our recent visits to Toys "R" Us, The Rock Daughters™ (Addie & Finn) and I couldn't resist checking out the new assortment of INSIDE OUT toys by TOMY, displayed in the "Feature" section at the front of the store.

There's always that saying about "time flying" when you have kids, and the same applies to running this website. It was two years ago this month that I first shared our love for the innovative spill-proof travel mugs and bottles produced by Chicago-based CONTIGO, and here we are again. The folks at Contigo can't stop improving, and thus comes the latest additions to their Contigo Kids line - the 14oz AUTOSEAL® Gizmo Sip Water Bottle, and the 10oz AUTOSPOUT® Flip Chill Water Bottle. Each has its own set of benefits, and the technology packed into each bottle is the same great spill-proof action that my wife and enjoy each and every day in our own bottles and mugs. To get summer started off right, the folks at Contigo have provided me with two of each of these new bottles that we're going to give all of you a chance at scoring. Two (2) lucky readers will receive a prize pack that includes one (1) AUTOSEAL Gizmo Sip and one (1) AUTOSPOUT Sip Chill. Let's rock...

Published in Food and Drink

It's a brief clip, but if you've ever wondered what kind of insight into parenting and fatherhood could be offered by METALLICA frontman and father of three, JAMES HETFIELD, today is your day. In Part 4 of their "Up-Close with James Hetfield" video series, the folks at Road Recovery get a few words from James about finding the right balance in how he handles his children, and how "being in the middle" could be the hardest place of all...

Published in Music News

THE ROCK FATHER writes about Star Wars a lot. He also loves Mac & Cheese, so he would’ve written about KRAFT Mac & Cheese Star Wars Boxed Shapes dinner even if it wasn’t a sponsored post for Socialstars #Youknowyouloveit

The Force is strong in this household, but if you’re reading this, then you already know that. Growing up as a child of the 1980s, Star Wars was everywhere, and it’s interesting to see how in 2015 it’s everywhere once more. In fact, we might be living in the best time ever to be a Star Wars fan, and as we’re raising a new generation right now, it’s cool to see that goodness from a galaxy far, far away making it’s way into other aspects of our daily lives… like the dinner table. Like Star Wars, KRAFT Mac & Cheese Dinner has been a regular part of my existence for as long as I can remember… and I imagine that our girls will one day hold it in the same regard.

Published in Food and Drink

On May 16, the folks from KIND and zulily will partner for Kindness Safaris to be held at 20 Zoos across the country. For friends in my home City of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo will be the center of the action from 10am-5pm, where families can take part in the safari, and kids can discover how being kind through simple acts can be fun, and really brighten the world around us. It's all part of the ongoing Kind Parents, Kind Kids program, which uses fun family activities to teach kids the importance of kindness year-round.

Published in Chicagoland

Seat Belt SafetyWhile our girls are still pretty young, we already face some occasional issues with getting them strapped-in and making sure that they stay buckled-up whenever we're in the car - even when parked at the bus stop. Word on the street is that tweens (ages 8-14) can be the worst when it comes to this, and the bottom line is that being buckled-up is a non-negotiable. In fact, I can tell you from experience that one of my best friends was killed five years ago when he was thrown from a vehicle after failing to wear his seat belt. I think about that every day, and as a parent, it's extremely frustrating when the little ones don't listen, and that's why the Ad Council is reminding families that parents and grownups are the #1 influence for children when it comes to seat belt safety. Regardless of how bad they may want to fight you, never give up until they buckle up.

Published in Rock Father Rides
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