15 Awesome Android Apps for Kids

15 Awesome Android Apps for Kids

Last year, I switched from the iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy sIII. Let me just say… I love it! The kid loves it too. And, like most moms, I use it to keep him busy, when we’re somewhere that requires a wait.

Unfortunately, sifting through all the apps available can be a chore, and a bore. No worries, though! I’ve done the work for you… Here is a list of the top Android apps, for kids that we’re digging, right now (some have a minimal cost):

Educational

  1. Kids Math
  2. PopMath
  3. Smart Kids Games
  4. Pop Science Kids Game Free
  5. Kids ABC Phonics Lite

Games

  1. Temple Run 2
  2. Angry Birds
  3. Ant Smasher
  4. Fruit Ninja
  5. Candy Crush Saga

Creative

  1. Kids Doodle – Color & Draw
  2. How to make Paper Airplanes
  3. Funny Kids Cams
  4. Christmas Story: Elf Adventure
  5. Kids Piano

What are some of your kids’ favorite apps?

Hey metro #Detroit parents, your kids into building stuff? Check out @TheRobotGarage!

Hey, metro Detroit moms… looking for something to do with your kids this summer? Are they into engineering, robotics and/or architecture? Well, I have a very inexpensive solution for you.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a “media moms” open house for The Robot Garage, a local business that aims to “provide a year-round PLACE for LEGO® and robotic enthusiasts of all ages.”

The Robot Garage has all kinds of blocks to build with.

The Robot Garage tons of blocks to build with.

 

The Van Gogh was build with LEGO®  bricks!

The van Gogh was build with LEGO® bricks!

The Robot Garage works closely with leaders from the robotics and education community and focuses on hands-on S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) experiences that are fun, educational and engaging.

The building is a converted warehouse, with added “garage bays” that section off to offer different things at once. The Robot Garage has 20-foot ceilings, brightly colored walls, and an unstructured studio setting with everything you need to spend a special morning or afternoon together with your children. I can’t wait to take the kid. In fact, I think we’re going to take him and a couple of his cousins next month, for his birthday.

They also have a store where you can buy LEGO® and robotics kits.

They also have a store where you can buy LEGO® and robotics kits.

 

All those itty bitty pieces are just begging for little hands to dive in.

All those itty bitty pieces are just begging for little hands to dive in.

The Robot Garage offers birthday parties, classes, workshops, summer camps and unstructured play (a drop-in program where children can come and play, for two hours, for just $8 per child).

Because the people at The Robot Garage are so awesome, they’re offering a discount on July summer camps. Just use promo code “mediamoms” and save $50 on regularly priced July camps*.

The Robot Garage is located at 637 S. Eton St., Birmingham, MI 48009. You can reach them at (248) 723-9100, via their website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Their summer hours are as follows:

Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Friday 9:00 a.m.  – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Closed Sundays during the summer

 

The kids at last week's camp built this - from scratch.

The kids at last week’s camp built this – from scratch.

*Offer subject to availability and only while seats remain available. No cash value. Not redeemable for other goods or services. Register online at TheRobotGarage.com or call 248-723-9100.

 

25 Ideas to Keep Kids Busy During the Summer

Summer is hard for kids.

Yeah, you heard me. Even though they’re out of school for the season, it’s hard. They’re always looking for things to do, and often there isn’t enough to keep those active little bodies and minds busy. And, when they’re not busy, they get in trouble. And, that’s no fun.

As a mom who works fulltime, outside the home (with a spouse that does as well), it’s super hard for me to find things for the kid to do, that fit into our work schedules.

25 Ideas to Keep Kids Busy During the Summer

Since summer is in full swing, I’ve been knee deep in “find things to keep the kid busy” research. Here’s a list of 25 ideas I’ve come up with so far.

  1. Story Writing
  2. Field Trips (Zoo, Museum, etc.)
  3. Bike Rides
  4. Puzzles
  5. Roller Skating/Blading
  6. Bowling
  7. Library
  8. Hide and Seek
  9. Reading
  10. Painting
  11. Drawing
  12. Coloring
  13. Swimming
  14. Make a Fort
  15. Build a Tent
  16. Have a Water Gun Fight
  17. Have a Nerf Gun War
  18. Play Dress Up
  19. Play Computer Games
  20. Have a Scavenger Hunt
  21. Make Paper Bag and/or Sock Puppets
  22. Put on a Puppet Show
  23. Water Balloon Fight
  24. Architect (LEGO® bricks, Blocks, etc.)
  25. Board Games

So, there you go. There’s my list of ideas to keep kids busy, during the summer (or anytime, really). Feel free to add to this list, in the comments section below.

A Day Out with Thomas at Greenfield Village

Disclosure: I was provided free tickets to attend the Day Out with Thomas event. All opinions are my own.

Day Out with Thomas 6

The  Day out with Thomas: The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013 provides kiddos the opportunity to climb aboard and take a ride with Thomas as well as participate in Thomas & Friends themed activities.

Thomas the Tank Engine pulled into Greenfield Village this past Saturday, the hubs, the kid and I were there to take part in all the fun. We had a wonderful time. The kid really enjoyed himself. And, since he didn’t remember the first time we went, four years ago, it was like his first time!

Day Out with Thomas 1

Kids, and their families, are invited to take a 25 minute ride around Greenfield Village on Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a day of Thomas & Friends themed activities including arts & crafts, model trains, storytelling and more.

Day Out with Thomas 3Day Out with Thomas 4

Day Out with Thomas 5

From April 27-28, May 4-5 and 11-12, little engineers and their families are invited to take a Thomas the Tank Engine rides depart every 30 minutes, rain or shine. Departure times begin at 9:30 am through 5:00 pm each day of the event. Tickets for the Day out with Thomas: The Go Go Thomas Tour 2013 are $11.75 for members, age 1 year and older and includes free admission to Greenfield Village. Ticket prices for non-member children age 1-4 is $11.75, youth age 5-12 is $27.75, adults age 13-61 is $33.75 and seniors age 62 and up is $32.75.

Tickets are on sale now by calling The Henry Ford at 313-982-6001 or visiting www.thehenryford.org.

For my readers not living in metro Detroit, click here to see if Thomas is coming to your area!

The Question Game {plus a Book Review & a Giveaway}

The winner is comment #4, Maria Dos Santos! Congratulations, Maria. Be on the lookout for an email from me.

RANDOM.ORG - True Random Number Service

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Mommy, what time is it?

Mommy, when are we going to eat dinner?

Mommy, are we there yet?

Mommy, can I have this? Can you buy me that?

Mommy, why is it called winter? Summer?  Spring? Fall? Is it fall, or is it autumn?

Mommy, can I…?

Mommy, why is…?

Mommy, when…?

Anyone with children has no doubt heard the above questions, on a very regular basis.

And, let’s not forget the “whys” and the “what ifs.”

But, as annoying as all the questions are… Kids ask questions. It’s what they do. Its how they learn (at least that’s what I tell myself to keep from blowing my top after question #37).

The kid is no exception to the 50 questions per day minimum. That’s why I was so excited to review a copy of What If the Sky Was Red? (written by Mark Askin and illustrated by Hailey Myziuk ).

What if the Sky was Red

What if the sky was red? is a really fun picture book that encourages its readers to think of the possibilities of things being different. To question what is normal, and to ask… “what if.”

The kid really enjoyed the book and giggled the entire time he was reading it.

The Kid Reading What if the Sky was Red 2

Because he enjoyed so much, I’m giving away a copy to one of my readers.

  • To enter, just leave a comment, telling me the craziest, weirdest, funniest question your little one has ever asked.
  • Winner will be chosen at random, Sunday, Dec. 30.

A Kindle edition of What if the sky was red? is available on Amazon, for $3.99.  A hard-copy is available on Mark’s website, It’s me, Tyler! for $8.99.

Disclosure: A copy of  What if the sky was red? was provided to me, free of charge, for the purpose of review. However, as always, opinions are all mine.

LEGO® KidsFest is coming to #Michigan Oct. 12-14 and I’m giving away a pair of tickets!

The LEGO® KidsFest Michigan will be taking place Oct. 12– 14 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

I am so stoked. I loved playing with LEGO® bricks when I was younger, and the kid loves playing with them now. Since he’s old enough to keep them out of his mouth, he’s just recently moved up to the regular LEGO® bricks, from the larger LEGO DUPLO® bricks.

He loves making things out of them, and playing with the little people that come with the sets. The hubs and I haven’t yet told him that we’re taking him to the LEGO® KidsFest. I think we’ll just surprise him when we get there. I can’t wait to see the look on this face.

 

From the LEGO® KidsFest website:

The LEGO® KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to the Suburban Collection Showplace, a mere 30 minutes from downtown Detroit, October 12 – 14, 2012.  This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Ninjago and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space.

Here are some of the awesome things you’ll find at LEGO® KidsFest:

  • LEGO Model Gallery: 40 life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks
  • LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play
  • Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
  • Race Ramps: build your own custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family
  • LEGO Games Arena: roll the dice to play LEGO board games
  • Construction Zones: creative free build, play and display areas
  • LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
  • LEGO Retail and KidsFest Marketplace: purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
  • Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
  • Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity
  • Brickscapes: fantastic displays that combine lots of LEGO and DUPLO sets

As I mentioned earlier, the LEGO® KidsFest Michigan will be taking place Oct. 12– 14 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.  

Five identical sessions will be available:

Friday, October 12

4 pm – 8:30 pm

Saturday, October 13

Session I: 9 am – 1:30 pm

Session II: 3 pm – 7:30 pm

Sunday, October 14

Session I: 9 am – 1:30 pm

Session II: 3 pm – 7:30 pm

Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. BUT, for one of my lucky Michigan-based readers, you and a guest could attend for free. That’s right… FREE! Yep, you guessed it – I’m giving a pair of tickets away to LEGO® KidsFest Michigan for Friday, Oct 12, 4:00 – 8:30 p.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!

 

For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to www.LEGOKidsFest.com

 

All images provided by LEGO® KidsFest.

 

Super-easy school lunch ideas that your kids will love!

It’s no secret that the kid is a picky eater. So, when it comes to making healthy school lunches he’ll enjoy, I have to have a bunch of ideas at my fingertips so I’m not scrambling around trying to pull things together.

 I’ve put together a few ideas the kid loves. I’d bet your kids will as well!

Sandwich Roll Ups I make these by spreading thin slices of lunch meat and cheese on a piece of flat pita bread, with a little miracle whip, mayo or mustard. I then wrap it up and add a pickle spear and chips, just like they do at a restaurant. The kid really gets a kick out of that.

Mini-subs – Instead of buying actual sub buns, I just take a hotdog bun, and add all kinds of deli meats, cheeses, shredded lettuce, etc. I also pack a small container of dressing for him to pour on top, when it’s time for him to eat.

Sandwich Shapes  To break up the monotony of the “plain old sandwich,” I use cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes. If you use small cookie cutters, you can make them bite sized.

Hot Foods in a Thermos – When I was younger, my mom would put leftover chili and/or soup in a thermos for my dad to take to lunch. How wonderful would it be for your son or daughter to open their lunchbox and have a hot lunch waiting for them? Throw in some crackers and celery/carrot sticks and you have a wonderfully filling lunch! And, don’t forget about macaroni & cheese!

I hope these ideas provide you some inspiration for your kid’s school lunches!

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Got any ideas to add? Include them in the comments section below.

Simple Back-to-School Organization Tips

It’s that time of year again… Summer is ending and the kids are going back to school. Those three little words, “back to school,” introduce a whole new set of organization and scheduling woes for parents – me and the hubs included.

I decided to put together a post with some ideas to tackle the most prevalent organization and scheduling issues we have.

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When I said, “I love to shop,” this is not what I had in mind.

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be painful. All it takes is a little preparation to make it a much easier task.

Clothes: We just went back-to-school shopping for the kid, last weekend. I treated it like any other shopping trip (mainly grocery). Before we left, I took inventory of what he had. We had him try on everything, then put the things he couldn’t fit in a pile to be donated and the grimy, holey clothes in the trash.  Then, we sat down and wrote out a list of the things he’d need throughout the school year. We’re talking pants, shirts, underwear, socks, etc. The only thing we didn’t get was his winter gear. We’re not sure if he’ll be able to fit what he has, so we’ll wait until the season is closer.

School Supplies: We’re lucky, because the school district gives parents a list of what to get the kids. The list for the kid was only eight items – yep, eight. So, that was pretty easy to get together. Of course, I check to see what we had on-hand already. That brought the list to purchase down to five!

Once we get the clothes and supplies home, the clothes get washed and put up, the school supplies get labeled and put in the backpack.

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Early, busy, CRAZY mornings!

I don’t know about you, but between getting ourselves and the kid dressed – to getting breakfasts and lunches prepared – to making sure we all have what we need for the day – to getting out of the door on time, I mornings at our house are incredibly stressful. Add to all that a cranky kid, who is definitely NOT a morning person, and I’m surprised I make it out of the house, without pulling out all my hair!

Over the past year, I’ve come to realize that when I make preparations the night before, things go a lot more smoothly; you know: ironing the clothes, making the lunches, getting bags together, bathing the kid, etc. Also, because he’s is so hard to get up and going in the mornings, we’ve been trying to get the kid in bed at his “school year bedtime,” for the past few days. We want to make sure he’s somewhat acclimated to it, when school starts next week.

How do school mornings go your house? Are they hectic and stressful like mine, or are they peaceful and productive. If it’s the latter, let me know how you do it!

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What the heck do I do, with all these darn papers?!

Another problem we have is homework, handout and project storage. I swear the kid brought home more stuff from kindergarten, than I did my whole entire college career!

Right now, we have it all stored in a cardboard box, labeled “Kindergarten.” It works, and I could see us doing this for each year of school, but it’s not very attractive.  I’d really like to get a better (read: more aesthetically pleasing) system for this.

In my research for this post, I found a couple of ideas I like. Let me know what you think.

School Paperwork Storage – IHeart Organizing

Using crates for organizing school papers – I’m an Organizing Junkie

Organizing Children’s School Papers – Delightful Order

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I swear, the kids’ calendar has more is busier than mine!

Since the kid is an only child (and just 6-years-old), you’d think we didn’t have a lot of after school activities to worry about. And, you’re right – for the most part. Mainly, it’s just his karate classes. But, then you add field trips and birthday parties to the mix, and it can become a bit dicey. That’s why we keep a family calendar. We not only put his after school stuff on there, we put our after work items as well. That way we know if one of us won’t be able to pick him up, cook dinner, etc. I love the concept of our family calendar. I just have to get much better about putting everything on it.

We keep ours in the kitchen, where everyone goes – at least three times a day.

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I’d love to hear from you! How do you stay organized during the back-to-school rush and the months that follow? Leave your tips in the comments section below.

 

photo source