Nintendo Labo is the innovation that just keeps on giving. After a surprise debut this spring was followed by new ways to play some old favorites, Nintendo Labo is coming to schools through a new partnership between Nintendo and the Institute of Play. The two have teamed-up to put Nintendo Labo kits in select elementary classrooms nationwide, "combining the innovative play of Nintendo Labo with the basic principles of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) to inspire kids and help make learning fun." Announced this week, Nintendo will provide Nintendo Labo: Variety Kits and Nintendo Switch systems to participating classrooms to reinforce skills such as communication, creativity and critical thinking. The program aims to reach approximately 2,000 students ages 8 to 11 during the 2018-2019 school year.
If you've ever seen Back to the Future, played a game of Mouse Trap or watched a recent OK Go video (particularly "This Too Shall Pass"), then you've seen a Rube Goldberg Machine. These creations are elaborate, generally ridiculous machines that are crafted for the purpose of accomplishing a mundane task... like brewing a cup of coffee or feeding your dog. Rube Goldberg has been called "the grandfather of S.T.E.M." due to the enduring legacy of his iconic illustrations. Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning engineer and cartoonist, and his "invention cartoons" were the blueprint for countless contraptions that now bear his name. In 1988, things became official with the start of the RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST®, originally as a college competition. Three decades later, the annual contest encourages student inventors from across the country to create the best machines that they can, and for the 30th Anniversary, the 2018 contest came to a conclusion in Chicago.
THE ROCK FATHER is sharing some thoughts on #KindMonsters in partnership with Mattel’s Monster High...
Over the years, there’s been a lot of discussion about popular culture as a reflection of the world around us. One aspect of that has often been explored within the realm of monsters - the characters and legends of literature and film. For the latter, horror movies are a genre of entertainment that in itself is one of the most heavily influenced by, and also reflective of the society of the times. Right now, there’s a movement taking place that’s hidden in plain sight, and some parallels can be drawn between it and those films, with monsters at the core. It’s a movement that can help families open up some teachable moments, inspiring kids to learn timely lessons about inclusion and celebrating the differences in our friends. Electrified and reinvigorated with energy rivaled by only that of Dr. Frankenstein himself, Monster High is taking on a new class.
This weekend, the Chicago Botanic Garden officially opens the doors to the Regenstein Learning Campus, a beautiful, 7-acre campus built for learners of all ages, with the intention to "facilitate connections between people and the environment." The Rock Daughters™ and I recently had a chance to preview the new Campus and its Learning Center - a 26,700 square-foot building that features 12 indoor and two outdoor classrooms, a nature laboratory, early childhood classrooms, the ITW kitchen and spaces for wellness classes. Outside, The Nature Play Garden, with its rolling hills and series of multisensory gardens, provides areas for hiding, exploring, learning and gathering - a fine place for kids to run around and have infinite adventures. The Campus will be the home of the Joseph Regenstein Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, offering year-round classes, day camps and programs.
One of the biggest surprises of 2015 when it comes to toys has been Flipsies by VTech. Launched during the transition for summer to fall, Flipsies are figures of little girls that interact with their playsets using MagicPoint technology. Pressing a charm on their neck while at a MagicPoint will activate sound FX, speech, and even lights in certain areas. Different Flipsies can engage in MagicChat with one another - but the key to the fun is in the name itself... Flipsies. Each doll can "flip" from a the "every day look" of a little girl into what they aspire to be. The Sandy's House & Ocean Cruiser 2-in-1 playset quickly became one of the most-loved toys of the year for The Rock Daughters, particularly little Finley. In House Mode, it's a fun doll house with all the cool accessories you could want - and in Ocean Cruiser Mode, Sandy can don a special wig and costume to join her Dolphin friend on some aquatic adventures as she takes on the role of a Marine Biologist. As a parent, what I really dig is that while these might look like just another doll line at a glance, each Flipsies set has a connection to a real-life career. While Sandy wishes to be a Marine Biologist, there's Carina who'd like to be a Doctor, Lexi who dreams of being a Teacher, Eva who hopes to become a Veterinarian and more.
With our oldest daughter, Addie being so into science these days, I was excited when SMART ANATOMY by Oregon Scientific hit retailers this fall. Since she's become so inquisitive about how things work - including the body, we've spent quite a bit of time at the library, checking out books based on some specific things. For a few months, she was obsessed with eyes - she wanted to know every piece of them, and how each of them worked. Then it was the heart, and the pattern has continued. With Smart Anatomy, kids can delve deep inside a visual and highly interactive depiction of the human body, with removable parts and a smart pen that activates a wealth of information covering healthy eating habits, bones, organs, muscles and more. "Alex" is the face of Smart Anatomy, and with two faceplates included, Alex can be a boy or a girl.