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Monday, October 31 2016 21:20

Can Our Children Learn from Monsters?

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.

Published in Home and Garden
Saturday, December 12 2015 21:47

Holiday Wish Guide: Flipsies by VTech

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.

October 5, 2015 is World Teacher's Day, and to celebrate, Life is Good met with teachers and asked them "what makes you connect with a child?" The responses from these real-life educators are featured in the video below, which is part of an initiative to help #GROWtheGood. Have a memory about a special teacher - or can you share this video? For every use of the #GROWtheGood hashtag, Life is Good will provide one dollar of support to help kids in need. Check it out...

While it's easy to look at something like STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and see it as something simple, like a toy or a cartoon - there's always been something else brewing beneath the surface... a signature philosophy that "Anything is Possible." As parents like my wife and I raise daughters as part of a new generation of powerful little girls that will one day become powerful women, we often find ourselves saying those very words - "Anything is Possible" - and we believe that to be completely true. Think of all the accomplishments that Humankind has achieved - many of which just in the past 100, 50, 25 or even 10 years - and it becomes clear that even the most far-fetched or outlandish idea that some would say "can't be done" most certainly can. Tonight I'm sharing with all of you a sneak-preview of a video that will make its public debut in NYC on October 3rd - a video that all young girls should see...

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