The Day We Got A Kinect RUSH

Ray was out of town and it was a cold cloudy day. As we ran to our car, we felt random raindrops land on our nose or our hand. My kids were bundled up and asking for hot chocolate, but we had made a commitment – I had made a commitment. We were to be part of a shoot for an online commercial for Qusik.

The video shoot was to take place in a beautiful backyard. And the scene? A swim party. Um, what was I thinking?

Yes, my kids and brother are swimming!

I will leave to your imagination what may have gone down that afternoon, and instead share with you how my kids went from saying it was “the worst day ever” to it was “the best day ever.” And, it has nothing to do with the product the commercial would advertise. Go figure.


There was a package waiting for us on our doorstep when we arrived back at home, still shivering despite the hot chocolate treat. Everyone ignored it and rushed to make themselves warm. We were changed and cozy, and just about ready for bed, when Noah spotted the box by the front door…

Inside was an Xbox with Kinect and RUSH, Disney’s newest game, and it took us all by surprise. You can bet we hooked that thing up and spent the evening staying very warm jumping, running, dodging, and saving as Disney super heroes!

I will always remember that day as the day I froze my kids. But, my kids? They will always remember that day as the day their wishes for an Xbox and Kinect came true.

The game and Xbox with Kinect were sent to us by our friends at Microsoft and Walmart in exchange for our honest opinions. More to come later, including hilarious video of my kiddos playing.

Learning During Playtime With @WordWorld

As a homeschooler and a mom, I am very diligent to incorporate activities into our playtime that encourage learning. One of the ways I do this is by giving my kids the tools to practice a specific concept, while sparking their creativity at the same time. Every activity becomes a lesson, incognito.

This is pretty easy to do, and I’m sure you do this, too, without even realizing you are. I’m sure, like me, you’ve pulled out alphabet cookie cutters and challenged your kiddos to cut out their names in the colorful dough, right? Or, perhaps you’ve walked through the produce section of the supermarket discussing the wide variety of colors you see and spelling out the names of the fruits and vegetables.

In addition to these little games, we use various forms of media as tools for learning, as well. All of my kiddos are quite adept at navigating the iPad, iPhone, the computer. Ray and I encourage the use of these tools on a very limited basis, but we keep our digital devices loaded with several educational apps and storybooks.

One of Ben and Noah’s favorite apps is the WordWorld Let’s Build a Word app. It was the best 99 cents we’ve spent on an app for Noah, although there is a free version, as well! They both love to see their own words come alive, just as they do on the show, which also happens to be a favorite.

Ben and Noah just recently had the opportunity to try out the Terrific Duck WordWorld storybook. Noah sat and followed along through the entire “book” in one sitting. If you know anything about Noah, you know this is a big deal and that he must have really been mesmerized! So much so, in fact, that I’ll be purchasing the rest of the WordWorld eBooks as soon as he grows tired of this one, as only Noah can.

For those of you who don’t know about WordWorld, it teaches four skill sets critical for young children’s emergent literacy: print awareness, phonological sensitivity and letter knowledge, comprehension (including vocabulary development) and socio-emotional skills.

As supplements to their shows you can download free printables, read the WordWorld FREE online eBooks, and download WordWorld iPhone apps.

Win it!

I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled that my kids can play games or watch shows without even realizing that they are actually learning!

WordWorld has agreed to gift one of you with the DVD “Get Up & Move” which was just released in February. All of my friends in the U.S. may leave me a comment here, by April 30th, telling me about the ways you encourage learning at home. I’d love to hear about the sneaky ways you can get that lesson in with your kids!

For extra entries you may tweet the link to this giveaway, up to once a day, and leave a separate comment with the link to each tweet.

Happy learning!

I have been compensated by WordWorld to create this post and host this giveaway. All opinions, of course, are 100% mine, as always.

LeapFrog Introduces Scout’s ABC Garden – An iPhone App for Preschoolers

I know I’ve been saying for quite some time that I am going to publish a post with our favorite iPhone and iPad apps for the kiddos, but the problem is that I keep finding more to add to the list! For now I’ll share our latest favorite – discovered just today – and I promise to publish a “top list” soon!

From LeapFrog comes Scout’s ABC Garden, available now in the Apple Store for just $3.99.

Our lovable puppy pals have gone digital in this first game of an upcoming LeapFrog series designed specifically for the iPad™, iPhone® and iPod touch®! With Scout’s ABC Garden, parents can personalize the learning by choosing either Scout or Violet and “teaching” them their child’s name and favorite things. And as children follow their furry friend’s lead to alphabet fun, they can collect achievements for learning letters!

We had the opportunity to preview Scout’s ABC Garden this afternoon. Josh, Ben and Noah were all able to set up profiles where they taught their newest furry friend their name, favorite colors, favorite colors and favorite foods. Being that all three of them wanted a turn to play the game, we have yet to discover how these fun facts will play a role in learning and playing throughout the game, but each of the boys are excited to find out.

One of the things that I love about this app is that there are three different challenge levels, so all three of the boys can play at their own level. In levels one and two, Noah and Ben started out matching uppercase letters in the Letter Garden. In level three, however, Josh had to match uppercase letters with lowercase letters.

Being that the app is geared for ages 2-4, Josh did become a bit bored after just a few minutes, but still enjoyed trying a new game for my sake. Ben and Noah, on the other hand, played for quite some time. They mostly enjoyed playing fetch with Scout, counting bubbles, and watching the colorful musical notes.

It will be fun to see how the game develops past letter matching in the Letter Garden, but for now Ben and Noah are hooked!

Win it!

Five of you will be able to try the app free of charge, courtesy of LeapFrog! Just leave me a comment telling me about one of your kiddos’ favorite apps. On Sunday night I’ll choose five lucky readers’ comments and each will receive a gift code so they can download this app for their own preschooler on their iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone.

Watch for more of our favorite apps and a big announcement… coming soon!