Category: children

#TakeFlight and Soar with the Mini Pop Kids!

Get ready for an incredible live singing and dancing performance from an outstanding group of young children, the Mini Pop Kids!

We were first introduced to the Mini Pop Kids when my eldest was quite a bit younger. They did an amazing job of covering popular songs and making them age appropriate yet still being enjoyable for adults and kids. They originally launched in the 1980s (yes you heard that right) and went on to sell millions of albums worldwide. They relaunched in 2004 and their popularity has continued to soar.

The Mini Pop Kids landed in Hamilton on February 23rd at FirstOntario Concert Hall and they set the place on fire with their energy, fantastic vocals and dance moves. The atmosphere was electric the moment you walked into the hall. Children were dressed up to match their favourite Mini Pop Kids and I have to admit some of those children were quite the little fashionistas! We took several photos in front of the signs marking our very first concert and made sure to pick up a light up microphone. Once we entered the hall roughly thirty minutes before the concert started, we were treated to recordings of the group that had us dancing and singing long before the show started.

Once the group made their entrance on stage, the audience went wild with excitement. Kids were singing, dancing and screaming. I was embarrassing my youngest with my off tune vocals! The group covered many of the current top hits as well as two of their own original songs, Take Flight and Get Loud. Their Get Loud song is a song that you may have heard before and is associated with the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (a place close to my own heart) and a portion of the proceeds from this song goes right back to the Hospital.

The show was engaging, the vocals were amazing – this group of kids are beyond talented. While the songs were from the top hits, parents will love how well they covered the songs that had a few words that may not have been age appropriate. They also had the words to each song running live on the main screen behind them to help encourage you to sing along, I have to admit I had been singing quite a few of these songs wrong for quite a while! It was so special and heart warming to watch the children dance in their seats, run up to the stage and how warm and responsive the Mini Pop Kids were in coming down to give the kids high fives.

Not only is the group vocally incredible but they are also very talented in dancing. Our son loved the way Kalan danced (he made me record several of his dance moves) and follow him on Instagram so that he could practice his moves. For an extra bit of local love, the group was joined on stage by a local dance group, which I found out later is something they do in each stop. What an special moment for those children and parents – watching them dance along side the group.

Make sure to check to see if the Mini Pop Kids are stopping at a location near you (they have stops until the end of April) here.

Don’t forget to give the Mini Pop Kids some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: We received tickets to see the Mini Pop Kids live. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and the Schoolyard Bully

Begin to discuss the important topic of bullying with your child using Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and friends.

About Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and the Schoolyard Bully

Anna Pierri’s Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and the Schoolyard Bully is a strong introduction to the concept of bullying through easy-to-read rhymes and vibrant cartoon-style illustrations. In this first book of the series, the reader is introduced to the hero, Buster – a young mouse who’s large for his age and has “a heart that’s as big as a huge Redwood tree.” When trouble (a.k.a. old Rocky Ratnik) comes knocking for his trusty sidekick, Just Billy, Buster learns that dealing with a bully by acting like a bully is not the answer.

My Thoughts

“Because you are bigger and have strength and have might, you should use it for good – not to bully and fight” – Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown

That quote sums up this story for me perfectly. It is a fantastic, rhyming story for young children that addresses size, bullying, standing up for yourself but also using our size for good not just to intimidate. Your child will love the rhymes and bright, bold illustrations and you as the parent will love the lessons that they are learning.

We hear a lot about bullying and fighting in schools (and in general) and I know most schools put a lot of effort in to anti-bullying but sometimes the messages just don’t seem to go through. Some kids use their size to intimidate others or force them to do something they want them to do. While others may use their size to try to stand up for the weak but this can be just as wrong. Children have to learn to find that balance but also be confident in themselves to stand up and use their voices for change.

This book follows Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown (we had so much fun with his name!), who is a mouse that is large for his size and has four sisters. He has a good and kind heart and wants to protect those around him, something to be admired! He meets Just Billy (his new best friend), who is quite small for his age, intelligent but worried he is not as strong and who tends to get picked on by the larger students. Together they make a plan to stop Just Billy from being picked on but it doesn’t quite work out as planned as Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown appears to be the bully to the school teacher after pushing the real bully to the ground (and very kindly apologizes for wanting to hit the bully, which so many children can relate to!).

This is a wonderful book for you and your child to read together and begin the process of talking about bullying, peer pressure and how to stand up for ourselves. It gives them tools but also allows you to talk to them about what is going on in their own lives and help guide them in their own reactions. This will be a great resource and starting point for parents and children.

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

About the Author

ANNA PIERRI calls Caledon, Ontario, home, where the local wildlife, and especially the mice, give her daily inspiration for her writing. An avid storyteller from a young age, Pierri realized her dream of becoming an author with the Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown series. She is also the founder of Ruby Two Shoes Publishing Inc.

About the Illustrator

STEVE SLAWICH’s vibrant and animation-style artwork in the Buster series draws from his years of cartooning experience and working with licensed children’s products for companies like Nelvana and Disney Studios, where he had a six-year, full-time stint drawing another famous mouse. Slawich currently lives with his wife and son in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Top Four Camping Kids Games That You Must Have This Year

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

While we may be in the start of August, summer is far from over! We still have several great weekends left of camping, labour day long weekend and not to mention fall camping (one of my favourite seasons to camp in from my Girl Guides days!). Camping (or glamping!) not only gets us out of the city but forces us to put away the electronics and our connections to work, and focus on the most important thing, family.

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

As parents, we know how quickly our children’s attention spans can be. While we may be content curled up reading a book in nature or enjoy watching the rain from inside the cover of a tent, children can be easily bored. The same goes for the car rides, day trips and the list can go on and on. It is so important that we are prepared in advance with games and activities that will keep them having fun and engaged.

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

Goliath Games has an incredible selection of fun indoor and outdoor activities that will keep them engaged both physically and mentally. These top four activities are easy to carry, easy to use, loads of fun and the best way to unwind together as a family. They are literally just pack and go!

To help save our sanity on the drive up to the camp, cottage or beach, the 6 in 1 travel magnetic games is a life saver! It is small and portable, just a tad bit longer than the length of your hand. Players can choose from checkers, chess, backgammon, Chinese checkers, snakes and ladders and Parcheesi. Each of these games will appeal to all age groups and your older ones will delight in being able to teach their younger counterparts.

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

This portable game is suited for two to four players, although we found two was the best just due to the size of the game itself. The board pieces were a bit smaller – so be careful when using them. They come with their own carry case that fits in the back of the game (bottom left image above). I loved this concept, as too many times we put the pieces in baggies and the baggie gets misplaced or parts thrown out, making the game unusable. This toy was easy to use and navigate for both our youngest and eldest.

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

While we all need those rainy day breaks, boredom and frustration can slowly creep in if you don’t have enough planned or ready to go but Flip’n Chips has you covered! This is a unique take on the traditional game of memory. The game can be played with up to four people, although I think two to three would be the best, especially with younger players. You put the chips in the case it comes in, shake and pour. Then you flip over a chip to find your colour – the first to seven chips wins! Easy right? We had a lot of fun playing this game, it is an interesting take on memory and you have to build up a strategy plan in order to secure the correct chip colours.

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

Need to burn some of that high energy off? Zoom Ball is the perfect, high action game for your children to play. The concept is pretty easy to follow – each child (or adult) pulls on their set of handles to send the ball in the middle over to their partner who performs the same action to send the ball back. You really have to keep yourself on your toes for this one! Especially if you are playing with younger children – it can be hard to keep up with them! This is an extremely fun and yet competitive game, especially in our home with all boys! Throw in a water balloon in the inside of the blue ‘ball’ and you really have some action fun!

The Top Four Camping Kid's Games That You Must Have This Year

 

The i-Top brings smart technology to kids activities, where you spin to win! In this activity, children spin the i-Top and it counts the number of spins – the higher your score, you win! This game reminded me of all the spinners and battle games my children loved to collect but this was far more advanced! Your kids will spin the top, complete challenges while it records who wins! No more battles over who is the winner here (win win for all parents!).

The Top Four Camping Kid's Activities That You Must Have This Summer

Summer camping, day trips to the beach and relaxing at the cottage should be a fun way to unwind with your family away from the stress of every day life. With planning, you can make every moment spectacular and full of adventure! Planning for downtimes, car rides and keeping them moving is key to a great adventure. These four games were by far a fantastic way to keep the kids moving, minds engaged and working together (and sometimes against to keep that competitive edge).

Make sure to follow Goliath Games on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest toys, games and more!

What are you favourite summer time activities and games to do together as a family?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games DVD Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

On May 1st, Maya, the little bee with a big heart, is back for another adventure.

Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games DVD Giveaway

About Maya the Bee 2: The Honey Games

Maya The Bee 2: The Honey Games is based on the well-known children’s novel and popular animated series in Europe, Australia and Asia and offers an immersive cinematic adventure into a spectacular macroscopic world. A must-have for fans of all ages, the film is an instant classic that delivers wholesome family entertainment— emphasizing the importance of friendship, responsibility and courage.

After a slow harvest season, the very survival of the hive is threatened. Maya, and her sidekick, Willy, go to Buzztropolis, where the Empress invites them to participate in the Honey Games. But if they lose, the hive will have to give the Empress all of their summer honey! Needless to say, Maya and Willy’s teammates are neither enthusiastic nor athletic, but Maya remains positive and exclaims that “every bug has a talent!”.

Can Maya and Team Poppy win and secure her hive’s future? Only if Maya is able to gain new friends and learn about teamwork, accountability, and overcoming preconceived notion.

One of the best-known and beloved children’s brands of all-time, the stories of Maya The Bee have been passed down among generations of families for years. Originally a German children’s novel by Waldemar Bonsels, The Adventures of Maya the Bee was published over a hundred years ago in 1912. Since the original publishing, the book has been translated into many other languages and enjoyed by children all over the world. In addition to the book, Maya The Bee is also a comic book series, appeared in various iterations as animated series and now as major animated feature films.

Our Thoughts

Maya has to be the cutest little bee ever! This animated character has a very special message for children about teamwork, friendship and working together. She shares this message in her adventures and through her actions.

This DVD is all about teamwork and having the courage to go outside our comfort zone. Maya who isn’t as athletic as others has to compete in the Honey Games in order to save her hive. While this is daunting for her and her  friends, Maya encourages them to do their best. Every person (or bee) has a special skill that makes them unique.

This is a fantastic family movie that makes for a fun family movie night. It is geared for younger children.

You can purchase an early copy of this DVD on Amazon.

Movie Trailer

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Bring the Winter Adventures Inside with Winter Themed Playmobil Sets

Bring the Winter Adventures Inside with Winter Themed Playmobil Sets

Children love to play and re-create what they see both in real life and on television. As we are in the heart of winter (although my fingers and toes are crossed that the worst has almost passed us by) and the Olympic games are in full force, giving children an opportunity to bring their favourite sports to life with Playmobil sets is a fantastic way to keep them busy and foster some love for creating winter adventures.

Do you have a budding snowboarder? Or alpine skier? Or maybe a fan of cross-country skiing? Or maybe they love just being outdoors in the middle of winter building snow forts, having snowball fights and imagining they are crossing the Arctic in search of polar bears! The possibilities are endless with this new line of winter themed sets, that features a ski lodge, winter SUV, snowball fight, snowmobile, trio sports, biathlete, skiers and Arctic expeditions.

My son and niece tested out the Arctic Expedition with Polar Bears and the Winter Sports Trio over the weekend and had nothing but positive feedback for the two sets.

Bring the Winter Adventures Inside with Winter Themed Playmobil Sets

My favourite part of Playmobil sets are the ease of the set up. It can be put together by a six-year-old independently and at the same time my nine-year old niece had no problem whipping her pieces together without it feeling too young for her. All of the pieces are sturdy and easy to grip for little fingers. There were a few smaller pieces like the snowboard, skills and binoculars that I had to help them with but overall both sets were easy for them to manage on their own. Once the pieces are set up they stick together well – those skis were not going to accidentally fall off, which is a huge win for parents! There is nothing worse then a child becoming frustrated by parts that keep falling apart. The quality of the sets are incredible and you know that the pieces will last for a long time.

Bring the Winter Adventures Inside with Winter Themed Playmobil Sets

The Arctic expedition was by far their favourite set of the two, although they ended up combining the two sets to make one big winter adventure with daring polar bears and brave athletes who came to the rescue of the scientists (those naughty polar bears were cheeky and kept stealing their supplies!). The set came with one large iceberg, a drill, two fully moveable polar bears and two figures with accessories. The winter sports trio came with three figures and skills, tube, snowboard and winter accessories.

Bring the Winter Adventures Inside with Winter Themed Playmobil Sets

We loved the attention to detail on the accessories, ability to combine the sets into a bigger scene and the ease of set up. These sets were a win win for both the kids and my husband and I.

The entire line of winter themed sets range in price from $14.99 to $89.99 and can be purchased on the Playmobil website and at most retailers.

Make sure to follow Playmobil on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest information and new releases!

What is your child’s favourite winter activity?

Disclosure: We received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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