When I think about grandparents, my immediate line of thought is that our kids don't spend enough time with theirs - particularly my own parents. The barrier for us is distance, but for some families there's other things at play, language being one example. In the new book, Drawn Together, author Minh Lê and Caldecott-winning illustrator Dan Santat join forces to tell a heartwarming story of a grandfather and his grandson as they learn to overcome their language barrier through a shared love of art and storytelling. In the spirit of inspiring others, Disney-Hyperion and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to offer you a chance to win a hardcover copy of Drawn Together along with a Melissa & Doug Standing Easel. Check out a preview of the book below...
We've all been there - a smiling child looking up at you, basking in the pride that comes with a job well-done as they show off their latest masterpiece. Then you see how much of the paint has made it not onto the paper, but onto the table, the floor, the wall, their clothes... and perhaps the family pet. It's adorable, yet maddening, and in the past the reaction has been to just shake it off while heading for the Magic Eraser and whatever spray cleaner might be nearby. Crayola Color Wonder has been tackling some of that mess for a bit, particularly with their markers and travel kits, which we've used often. Now there's the Crayola Color Wonder Magic Light Brush & Drawing Pad - a painting set that refreshes an idea that painting doesn't have to be a huge mess. My colleagues at The Toy Insider sent us a set for review here at Rock Father HQ, and this is one of those things that I had to break into and try out before the girls even got a chance.
I don't know that most people expected DreamWorks' Trolls to be as big as it's been, particularly on the spin-off front. With its colorful characters, vibrant world, sing-along soundtrack and positive message, kids have been inspired to create their own Trolls-inspired projects that keep the spirit of "happy" going long after the end credits have rolled. Now, with the film having come home on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD, my friends at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have partnered with a variety of writers and creative types (including yours truly) to come up with some fun projects to do at home. Armed with a box of supplies graciously delivered by the folks at Fox, The Rock Daughters™ and I set out to craft something awesome. Thing is, I realized after we were well underway that I'm just not very good at the whole "crafting" thing, and that there's others out there who have some really impressive project ideas. But, that's actually not what's important - the real importance is in having fun and fostering creativity, no matter how things turn out.
It's an undeniable truth that The Force is strong in my family, and with STAR WARS being bigger than ever, we're constantly finding new ways to enjoy and expand our connection to a galaxy far, far away. Just as it was when my wife and I were kids that were immersed in the Star Wars Saga during its original 1977-1983 run, there's a ton of tie-in merchandise that brings the fun into unexpected areas, and with the new film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story© (™Lucasfilm LTD) headed for theaters on December 16, the folks at Kleenex® Brand are blasting into hyperspace, helping families share quality time together through moments of care - like sharing a tissue from a limited-edition box featuring Rogue One designs!
After what felt like a little bit of a lull, the past couple of years have delivered some fantastic new ways to foster hands-on creativity. One company that's been leading the charge is Spin Master (an outfit whom you've no doubt heard me mention on occasion), and this year they've got a new spin on creative play with Bunchems Alive!, the latest iteration of Bunchems - winner of the coveted 2016 Activity Toy of the Year Award, presented by the Toy Industry Association. These little balls stick together, allowing for endless possibilities in what kids can create. Squish, connect and create the creatures, characters, structures and vehicles shown on the box, or just free-form to create your own - this is open-ended imaginative play... with NO MESS. And now, with Bunchems Alive!, kids can add motion to their creations, bringing a whole new element into some already rockin' play.
As I write this, it’s the height of “Award Season” in the entertainment world, and having worked in that realm before, I can’t avoid thinking about how the season might equate to life at home, as a parent. Surely there could be trophies dished-out for just about everything, from “Best Daily Performance of a Theme Song from an Animated Motion Picture that You’ve Heard 4,000 times,” to “Best Original Song About a Wrestler” (our three-year-old wrote one), to “Best Bedtime Stall Tactic,” “Best Dramatic Performance at a Kitchen Table (Breakfast or Dinner),” and even “Best Performance by a Stainmaker.” Ah yes, that later category is a real wild card… one in which the race to even become a nominee is a battle fought valiantly with an arsenal of colorful armaments.