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As an EI Insider, the folks from Educational Insights recently sent the Design & Drill Flower Power Studio here for The Rock Daughters™ to review in our state-of-the-art Toy Testing Facility (our house). This is actually the third version of a "power drill" that we've acquired here, and by far the most creative in its application.

My wife and I first discovered the girls' interest in tools about a year or so ago, when Addie (our oldest) pointed out a tool set (which included a drill) and stated flat-out that she wanted "to build things like Daddy." Since that time, we've acquired a full-blown workbench, and a set of "Mouseketools," but nothing has been presented like this. The Design & Drill Flower Power Studio is a colorful, well-made toy that presents the drill and its bolts as a "craft set" instead of a pure "tool set," and that's a pretty interesting angle.

For years there have been a variety of products and kits out there that allow kids to customize and color their own... whatever. We've had some here (several variations of purses come to mind), and while I've seen some of the stuffed offerings in the "Arts & Crafts" sections of our frequently-visited local retail emporiums, I'd never done any with the girls until now - largely because I'd always thought of them as a "one-and-done" kind of deal. Inkoos are The Bridge Direct's long-running series of color-and-create stuffed creatures, and the selling point for me (even though ours were sent for review) is that they're machine-washable. They're touted as "Draw, Wash and Redo!" - but how well they work? That's what I was aiming to find out... with The Rock Daughters as my usual testers. Our subjects: FROZEN's Anna & Elsa, each presented as part of the Inkoos Color 'N Create collection, and the Color 'N Glow Bob the Minion (of Universal Pictures & Illumination Entertainment's forthcoming DESPICABLE ME prequel, MINIONS). 

One of my favorite guitarists of all-time is PAGE HAMILTON, and that should come as no surprise seeing as his band HELMET is one of my top five favorite bands of all-time. Hamilton has also been involved in the art game for a bit, and on May 1st, "A Monumental Art Collection from Page Hamilton" will launch, and it's being called "abstract, vivid and built from guitar." Check out a teaser video below...

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More than five years into my gig as a parent, every day is still an incredible thing as my wife and I watch our girls learn and grow, while embracing both their creative side and thirst for adventure. We do a lot of arts and crafts here at Rock Father HQ, all of which reflect our girls' diverse interests. We've gone full-blown Royal, making countless Princess Wands and Tiaras... have gone to Outer Space with planets and spacecraft... have worked with wax, paper, felt, glue and a ton of glitter over the years. Last week, during one of our school-canceling "cold days" (not a "snow day," but a -40° windchill) my oldest and I dug into something new - an activity kit from Seedling, a New Zealand-based company that's just started hitting the U.S. in a big way after merging with P.S. XO in a move that brought Seedling Founder/CEO Phoebe Hayman together with partners Kara Nortman and Soleil Moon Frye (who I watched regularly as Punky Brewster when that show was new). Their toys and kits tap into something that I've discussed many times over the years - letting kids be kids, and letting them play with what they want and follow their own interests. The kit that Addie and I worked on played right into her heroic side... a chance to design her own superhero cape. While I was there for a little fine-tuning with the scissors and glue, she really didn't need me, as the outcome was all her.

Step2As part of my gig as a Step2 Brand Ambassador, I often have the honor of getting some of you hooked-up with some cool toys for your little ones. Usually, it's one or two readers at a time, but this week I've got something extra-special: Step2 has teamed up with Magnolia Pictures to celebrate the release of their new film, THE HERO OF COLOR CITY  by giving away TEN (10!) prize packs (there's 10 Brand Ambassadors, ya dig?), each consisting of a Studio Art Desk™, Up & Down Roller Coaster, and a themed-pack of Cra-Z-Art crayons. THE HERO OF COLOR CITY is in Theaters, On Demand and on iTunes October 3rd. Get details and enter below!

Did you know that September 16 is National PLAY-DOH Day? It's true, every year there's a day-long celebration of Hasbro's iconic modeling compound, and for 2014, Hasbro has placed a Back-to-School spin on the affair, having their master sculptors lend their skill to creating some true works of art based on schools and students from classic movies and television shows. The sculpts include Cher’s plaid back-to-school suit from CLUELESS, the infamous Burn Book wielded by The Plastics in MEAN GIRLS, Rydell High’s infamous T-Birds & Pink Ladies jackets from GREASE, Mike & Sulley from Disney's MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and two classic scenes inspired by FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF and SAVED BY THE BELL. See them all, right here on THE ROCK FATHER...

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