Create a book character that looks like your child!

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As a minority, growing up my parents were hard pressed to find books with main characters that looked like me. Even now, there aren’t many books with diverse main characters. And, I’m just talking about race. Now, imagine you’re a child with a disability. How awesome would it be to find a book where the main character has the same disability as you?

Tim Osterbuhr, Kai Schmittat and Friederike Geiken at Crayon Crunch have done just that. Their book, My Magical Adventure is a gender-neutral, personalized printed children’s adventure story set in an imaginary world. In the book, the lead character can be customized to look like any child, including all ethnicities and disabilities.

Some of the lead character customization choices include:

  • Name
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Hair Color and Style
  • Eye Color
  • Skin Tone
  • Facial Features
  • Clothing
  • Special Needs like Wheelchair, Glasses, Prosthetics, Cane, etc.

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I am so excited for this book and I think kids will love it. The story is about your child who finds a magical box in the attic with a keyhole in the shape of the first letter of their name. Because the key is nowhere in sight, your child goes on an adventure where they meet many interesting characters that help them find the key. When your child finally unlocks the box there is a surprise. Inside the box is a personal letter from a parent, family member or friend who purchased the book.

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Now that you’ve read all about this wonderful book, the creators need your help. I’m sure you know, making a book isn’t cheap. Crayon Crunch has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. So, if this book sounds as cool to you as it does to me, head over and donate.

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.