VTech’s Innotab 3S Review (It’s Got Wifi!) and a Give Away! Cross One Gift Off Your Christmas List!

On October 22, 2013, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

Most of you will remember the fun my kids, grandkids and I had with VTech’s Innotab 2, last year.  I love it when a company wants to know what you really thought of their product and then takes that to heart as they design updates and new technology.  VTech has done exactly that!  The Innotab […]

Share Button

innotab 3s

Most of you will remember the fun my kids, grandkids and I had with VTech’s Innotab 2, last year.  I love it when a company wants to know what you really thought of their product and then takes that to heart as they design updates and new technology.  VTech has done exactly that!  The Innotab 2 was a tremendous hit in our home with only one minor snag.  IT ATE batteries like crazy! OR, you could purchase a separate AC adapter, but need to remain tethered to the wall outlet.  The kids loved all the games and we loved how much they learned while they were playing them, so naturally they logged many hours of rigorous “testing” with the fun technology.  The problem was we couldn’t keep up with the batteries required and we asked that Innotab include an AC Adaptor/charger and rechargeable batteries that would allow longer battery life and more cost effective use.  That’s exactly what they did.  The new Innotab 3S uses rechargeable batteries and comes with the charger included in the package!  Score!

VTech Toys' new Innotab 3S with Wifi - Win one in the giveaway at Busy-at-Home!

The new Innotab 3S. Awesomely, durable tablet for kids with loads of fun games and learning activities!

Another, item we put onthe Innotab 2 “wish list”  was to be able to have multiple user accounts, so each child could have their own and save their individual progress data.  The Innotab 3S accommodates 4 separate user accounts, PLUS a guest account.  No more, “He played over my saved game!”  Love this feature, too!  Thanks, VTech for caring what consumers have to say!

Innotab 3S Progress Report

Look at all the learning activities you can keep tabs on and using the drop-down box in the left-hand corner of the screen, you can easily switch to check the progress for another child.

This latest version of the Innotab from VTech can also utilize wireless Internet services wherever you and your children happen to be. You wouldn’t think this would be such a hot feature, but here’s the thing.  The kid-safe web browser only has access to carefully vetted children’s websites.  There are password protected parental controls onboard that would allow parents to add a trusted website, but prevents kids from doing so, without the password.  Kids can safely go online, utilize sites you have preapproved and do it on their OWN device, instead of asking for yours.  Yay!

Innotab 3 S What's in the box?

What comes in the box? The Innotab 3S, 2 rechargeable battery packs with batteries, adapter/charger, USB cable for connecting to the computer, reading activities cartridge and instructions.

Plus, now the kids can send and receive texts between their Innotab and a smartphone or their Innotab and another Innotab.  If you, like us, don’t feel that young children need a cell phone, you are going to enjoy this feature, more than you realize.  My daughter can text me, tablet-to-mobile or vice versa.  We don’t let her have a cell phone, but she does occasionally get to use MY cell phone to send texts to a friend or two.  With the Innotab 3S, her friends with smartphones are now on her Innotab “contacts” list and she can communicate with them from there.  Little kids feel like part of the “big crowd” and you can feel confident that they are safe.

Innotab 3S Learning Lodge

Downloading Learning Lodge onto my computer and setting up a parent account was really simple (and quick) – two of my favorite things! Learning Lodge is the way you can control what’s going into the Innotab 3S and a way to sync the tablet to keep you updated with the kids’ progress in the learning apps. You can also download new games and learning apps from the Learning Lodge.

The Innotab 3S is designed for ages 3-9, however, I feel like the new wifi capabilities are a real game changer.  Our 11-almost-12-year-old daughter is not allowed to have a cell phone and she latched onto this device immediately, setting up texting with her older sister in California and her best friend from school.

Innotab 3S Smart Phone App

Getting the Innotab 3S set up to be able to text back and forth with her sisters and friends was a BIG priority for our 11-year-old. She is getting the application set up on my smart phone, in this picture.

The only disappointment with the device is the 2 MP camera/video recorder.  It is way beyond cool that it is included and available, but with no built-in flash, most pictures and video leave the kids staring at a black screen.  The only time the camera takes a visible picture is if the kids are outside in the bright sun or standing in direct sunlight near a window.  It does a good job in those instances and the ability to rotate the camera a full 180 degrees to take shots on both sides of the camera is a cool feature.  Sadly, it can’t be utilized to its full potential unless the child is standing in perfect lighting conditions.  I hope as VTech makes updates and changes, they will consider adding an onboard flash, so kids can make the most effective use of this awesome little tablet!

playing with the Innotab 3S

When all five of the grandkids are here, there is usually a “line” waiting for their turn on the Innotab 3S tablet for kids. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to be able to sit in Grandpas chair without anyone hovering at your elbow, waiting for a turn or telling you what you should play next. That rare commodity doesn’t usually last long, but it’s nice when you can get it!

Games range from just for fun, to learning without realizing it, to full-on educational.  Kids need to use memory, strategy and thinking skills, not to mention fine-tuning their small motor skills as well.  The Innotab 3S comes with 4 GB of onboard memory and it’s expandable up to 32 GB by adding a micro SD card.  That will help your kids make use of great features like the built-in MP3 player, photo album or 20 free apps included with the tablet.  It has a 5-inch color touch-screen and comes with a stylus.  The 3-D Art Studio is still one of the favorite apps with our family, but they all have favorite games, as well.  When registering the 3S, I received a free download, too, so I added another game to the menu.  The Read, Play and Create cartridge was also included and expands our activity and game library.  The possibilities are pretty much limitless when the Learning Lodge (online tablet managing controls for parents) contains 350 titles that will soon be expanding to over 600!  It’s easy to download new apps through Learning Lodge and to keep track of how your kids are using the device.   You’ll find titles that teach reading, math, social studies, handwriting, science, problem solving, geography and more. Parents can even track their child’s learning progress online. Featured throughout the downloads and software cartridges are popular characters such as Team Umizoomi™, Dora the Explorer™, Thomas & Friends®, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, Jake & the Never Land Pirates™ and Sesame Street®. New titles for 2013 on the Learning Lodge include Monsters University®, Turbo®, Planes®, Doc McStuffins®, Sofia the First® and more.

This child-safe tablet gets very little down-time in our home and I’m guessing it would be a hit at your house, too.  I would definitely be watching the VTech Facebook page and website, plus your local ads to get the latest news on sales and specials for the holidays, because this would be an awesome way to cross one item off your Christmas shopping list!  (I happen to know that Amazon has it on sale for only $89.95, right now, so that would be a good way to save $10!)

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  In the meantime, use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway and have a chance to win an Innotab 3S for your own family!  To enter just leave a comment on this post, telling me your favorite kid-friendly feature of the Innotab 3S.  (Click this link to see the entire list.) That’s it!  Register your comment on the Rafflecopter form, below. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Neighborhood Toy Store Day is November 10th!

On November 2, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

Shopping local is important for so many reasons.  For those of you, like me, who live in a small community, the businesses you’re helping to grow belong to friends and neighbors.  Plus, a thriving economy in my hometown means it is growing, developing neighborhoods and improving city services, instead of fading away, as so many […]

Share Button

Shopping local is important for so many reasons.  For those of you, like me, who live in a small community, the businesses you’re helping to grow belong to friends and neighbors.  Plus, a thriving economy in my hometown means it is growing, developing neighborhoods and improving city services, instead of fading away, as so many other small towns have done.  Local businesses create jobs and did you know that for every $100 spent in local, independently owned stores, $68 comes back to the community in the form of taxes, salaries and charitable contributions? Shopping local is an investment that pays huge, long-term dividends in supporting and developing your hometown.  Local stores also help sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers.  For me and my family, that’s the town square, a hub for shopping and business, as well as community events.

Loopdeedoo

Two great toys I reviewed for Neighborhood Toy Store Day. If you see either of these at your local toy store, GRAB them! They are good quality and hours and hours of fun that your kids will come back to, over and over, again.

Another benefit of shopping independent toy stores is that you will often find a wider selection of unique, high-quality boutique and specialty products that aren’t typically stocked at big box stores.  Since local businesses select their own product mix, they tend to offer a wider range of choices and products you might not find in other places.  I reviewed two products that are perfect examples of unique and fun toys that the kids on your holiday list will love, but you might not see in a typical large chain store.

bracelet making

Of course my creative and crafty eleven-year-old was over the moon when she saw the Loopdeedoo and couldn't wait to get started. She had created a new bracelet for herself, within minutes of opening the box. In this picture she is busy winding the most basic pattern that can be done and graduated to some more complicated patterns, in a very short time. The Loopdeedoo has provided hours of productive fun!

Tenzi is made by Carma Games and is a winner of ASTRA’s (American specialty toy Retailing Association) Best Toys for Kids 2012 award in the GamePlay/8+ category.  I LOVE this game!  It is designed for children seven and older, but it’s also been a great way to teach my grandchildren to recognize number sets that match the number symbol.  After a few quick, rousing games, they immediately recognize what a set of six or four or any other set on a die, looks like and can call it out or match it to it’s number symbol.  Games that are fun AND can teach are my idea of time well spent.  This simple and fast-paced dice game can actually be the center of family fun, and appeal to all ages.  The game consists of four sets of dice, each a different color.  Each of four players selects their color and at the word, “Go!” begins rolling dice, saving back ones that match and then rolling the others again, to try to add to their collection of matches.  The first player to have all ten of their dice rolled to the same number, is the winner.  There are several other fun variations of play for this game, as well.

woven bracelet

Modeling her brand new bracelet.

Loopdedoo had our nearly eleven-year-old daughter jumping up and down for joy and grinning from ear-to-ear.  Just minutes after she pulled it from the box, she was creating fun twisted bracelets for herself and for her friends.  Following the included instructions, she can even make belts and we have an idea of our own for making beautiful coasters!  The creative possibilities are limitless and a toy that also fosters creativity and strengthens small motor skills is a great value.  Loopdedoo comes with the easy-to-use spinning tool, 18 skeins of colorful embroidery floss and step-by-step picture instructions.  It is recommended for children ages 8 and up.    Like Tenzi, look for  Loopdeedoo at independent toy stores, nationwide.

bracelet

She definitely loves any creative pursuit and if it ends in new jewelry, all the better! I love that this toy is more than just for fun and builds skills and confidence, along the way!

Yourneighborhoodtoystore.org is an online resource for parents interested in learning more about the latest toys on the market and where to find them.  It’s an excellent resource to consult BEFORE doing birthday and holiday shopping!  They describe their mission as striving to help parents discover the “woohoo factor” kids get from playing with today’s best toys!  When you visit the website, you can locate a Neighborhood Toy Store Event, near you, so you won’t miss any of the fun in-store events, like craft projects, live performances, activities or special discounts.  Celebrate community and fun at an independent toy store near you, this November 10th!  To be sure you don’t miss out on any news or events, you can follow The Woohoo Factor on Facebook and on Twitter.

I received the Loopdeedoo and Tenzi, as examples of the unique products available when shopping local toy stores and in order to test them with my family, to gather information for this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.  #toystoreday #localtoystore #shoplocal

Tagged with:
 

Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas for iPad Users!! : a Pressman Toys iPieces Review and Give Away!

On October 25, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

When I first won my iPad in an online giveaway, I kept it under lock and key.  No one was allowed to use it, except me, on pains of … well … pain.  :)  I couldn’t imagine turning my teenagers, or even my husband, loose to recklessly download apps willy-nilly and carelessly leave this awesome […]

Share Button

When I first won my iPad in an online giveaway, I kept it under lock and key.  No one was allowed to use it, except me, on pains of … well … pain.  :)  I couldn’t imagine turning my teenagers, or even my husband, loose to recklessly download apps willy-nilly and carelessly leave this awesome piece of technology lying around, uncared for.  I could never have dreamed that, today, the most common users of this handy device would be my teenagers and preschool- and primary school-age grandchildren!  I very rarely get my hands on the iPad, but it gets plenty of use!  This phenomenon is not uncommon, in our society, today; and even the youngest members of families are so technologically savvy that companies are beginning to design apps that are age-appropriate for their learning and playing needs.  Toy companies are beginning to see this need, as well, and I’m so enthusiastic about the way Pressman Toy has tackled the challenge.

At the BlogHer conference in New York, this summer, I had a chance to play a couple of new games from the Pressman Toy iPieces line and I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to show them to my family. We recently reviewed two of the five available iPieces games, here, at our home; and we have definitely put some miles on them!  We tested Air Hockey and The Game of Goose.  They’ve both been big hits. Let me explain why.  They are perfectly geared to younger children, and yet, easy for Mom and Dad to love, too.  How is that possible?  Let me show you!

Pressman Toys games for the iPad

Love #1: Look at the size of these game boxes! They don't take a lot of space and they are all the same size -- easy to stack and store. How many collapsing cardboard game boxes, filled with remnants of game pieces, do you have tucked away in a closet, somewhere? I'm ashamed to even try and count them, any more. :) With a minimum of pieces, since most of the game components are digitized into the game (even dice!), there aren't dozens of tiny pieces to lose or to suck up in the vacuum cleaner. What a revolutionary new board game concept! I love it! Plus the containers are sturdy and durable.

 

Love #2:  Playing board games with our kids and grandkids allows us to have conversations and really connect, as we enjoy the fun of the game.  It’s sometimes difficult, however, to carve out the amount of time necessary to play traditional board games that require hours and hours, or even days, to complete.  We either have to leave them set up somewhere in the house, and come back to them, quit before the game is finished, or force ourselves to stick with it for the duration (which reinforces that desire to avoid board games in the future – not a good plan).  The beauty of Pressman Toys’ iPieces games is that they are interactive and fun, but required game time is brief.  Not only does that fit a small child’s attention span, so they can easily be included, but it makes it so much easier for Mom and Dad to have the time to play a game, or even two or three!

hockey game pieces

This is all that you will have to keep track of for the Air Hockey game, which brings me to Love #3: I don't have to be concerned that the kids won't remember to put away dozens of tiny game pieces, cards, toy money, die, etc. in a falling-apart cardboard box. I'm not nearly as likely to step on a game piece in the middle of the night or suck one up in the vacuum cleaner, because the games are simple to put away - even for small children! Yay!

 

Air Hockey for the iPad

Air Hockey is a two-player realistic miniature version of the game you love! Never lose the pucks, because they're part of the 3D digital display. It's fast-paced, interactive and crazy fun to play (especially if you have a couple of super competitive players involved)!

 

Love #4:  iPieces games are inexpensive and there are already five different games available!  At Amazon.com the games range in price from $5.98 for Snakes and Ladders, to 12.99 for Pool.  There are three others, the Fishing Game, and the two we tested, Air Hockey and the Game of Goose.  Love!  Love!  Love!  If you have an iPad in your home, your whole family, right down to the youngest members, will have a blast with any or all of these titles!  Once you own the game, download the app for your iPad for free and enjoy some fabulous family fun and laughter.


 

Love #5:  In my opinion, even though the main feature is fun, all these games have some educational value for the littlest ones in your household.  I know that the Game of Goose we reviewed certainly did! Our grandkids not only had to practice patience, sharing and waiting for their turn, but they learned to recognize number sets on die, practiced counting as they moved their game pieces along the path and learned what it means to follow instructions.  This particular game is also good for fine-tuning small motor skills and eye-hand coordination, as the kids move their game piece around the virtual board.

playing the game of goose

Our 11-year-old taught our grandkids (3, 5, and 6) to play the Game of Goose on our iPad. They caught on quickly -- even the three-year-old. It took him about 30 seconds to figure out that every time someone landed on a square with a picture, an animation would start. Of course, he had to test out what each one would do before we could officially play the game! :)

 

animation

In this animation the geese "fly" across the board to show you what square to land your piece on. Cool!

 

goose game pieces

The Game of Goose can be played by 2 to 6 players, so you can get the whole family involved. Again, the only pieces to keep track of are the goose game pieces which are stored in this sturdy, little case.

 

goose board

The virtual game board for the Game of Goose. Even the die is animated. Simply touch it with a finger to roll it. It's a fun paradox to have the "retro" almost antique-look of this game board in a modern electronic device! Even with multiple players, the Game of Goose plays quickly and is lots of fun!

 

Be sure to follow Pressman Toys on Facebook and Twitter, so you stay up-to-date on any specials, new products or promotions that might help you whittle down your Christmas list!  And definitely be sure to enter this giveaway, to win an iPieces game, of your choice.

GIVEAWAY!!!!!

One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will win the Pressman Toy iPieces game of their choice, for their family!  You can choose any one of the five available.  Entering is super simple.

Mandatory Entry:  Visit the Pressman Toy website and find another game you think your family would enjoy.  In a comment on this post, tell me the name of the game you are interested in and paste the link to it’s page in your comment.  Once you’ve left your comment, register your entries using the Rafflecopter form, below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received the Game of Goose and Air Hockey, in order to test them in my own home and collect information and photos for this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Education, Technology and Fun Wrapped Up in One Phenomenal Toy! My Review of VTech’s New Innotab 2

On September 14, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

The Innotab 2, from VTech, puts all the latest technology in the hands of your kids, in a form that is designed just for them!  Rugged and durable, like VTech’s MobiGo2, the Innotab gives kids the freedom to move around and be kids, taking the tablet with them where they play; and it gives you the […]

Share Button

The Innotab 2, from VTech, puts all the latest technology in the hands of your kids, in a form that is designed just for them!  Rugged and durable, like VTech’s MobiGo2, the Innotab gives kids the freedom to move around and be kids, taking the tablet with them where they play; and it gives you the peace of mind that it can hold up to the rigors of childhood enthusiasm.  :)  I love this product!  As a learning tool and as an all-around functional piece of electronics, I think it exceeds even the MobiGo2, just on sheer number of features.  The one issue I had is that it drains batteries like crazy!  My preference would be to have it arrive with an AC adapter that I can plug in and recharge an onboard battery, like a regular tablet.  The use that it gets from very happy and excited kids means it needs to have a readily accessible source of back-up power and continuing to purchase batteries will be costly.  With that being the only drawback, I can’t wait to tell you how much fun the kids have had with this “toy”.  It’s hard to even think of it as such, because while it is tremendous fun, it is also educational and practical.

vtech

Our VTech Innotab - a tablet made for kids!

 

tablet

The built in stand lets it rest on it's side or end on the desktop. The shape and construction make it durable and easy to hold for small hands. I love the camera that simply rotates to take pictures in front of or behind the tablet. Lots of function & value in a useful "toy"!

It has a 5” touch screen, tilt sensor, microphone, pop-up (onscreen) keypad, and a stylus that allow children to play games, create art, take notes, or use utilities like the onboard calendar or friends list all on one device.  Other features include:

  • Built-in digital photo/video camera fully rotates to take images and videos of others or yourself  (My kids and grandkids ADORE this feature and have already put tons of miles on it!  There are programs onboard that allow them to “goo” their snapshots, distorting them into all sorts of crazy shapes and proportions.)
  • 2 GB onboard memory with SD card slot expandable up to 32 GB of memory (SD card not included)
  • 5″ color touch screen and tilt sensor
  • Camera, video camera, photo viewer, video player, MP3 music player, e-reader, art studio, games, and built-in microphone
  • Personalize the InnoTab 2 for up to four users with photo wallpaper, user name and avatar, a voice greeting and typed greeting  (Another feature I LOVE!  You’ll remember this was one of the things I wished for with the MobiGo2 and I couldn’t be more excited to be able to have multiple users on this one device!)
playing Innotab

Our youngest daughter and oldest granddaughter have put miles and miles on the fun games and apps included on the Innotab! The camera and video camera also add hours of fun and entertaining options to the activity.

Our Innotab 2 came with 17 pre-installed applications that included both educational and gaming options.  We also received two free downloads when registering the product, which we promptly used to download 2 storybooks for the e-reader.  The Innotab also included a cartridge containing stories for reading, learning games and coloring pages.  Other cartridges can be purchased to add to the programs available.  Plus, you can download new apps to the Innotab through the Learning Lodge, just like we did with the MobiGo2.
For reinforcing school activities, for fun, for a useful and still exciting gift, I definitely recommend the Innotab 2 from VTech for the “techy” kids on your holiday shopping lists.
reading

Whether it's practicing reading with the read-along story books, playing a game or practicing math skills, there is always something of value to educate and entertain your 3-9 year old on the Innotab 2.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech. I received product samples to facilitate my review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Tagged with:
 

VTech’s MobiGo 2: Fun, Educational and Durable Technology for Your On-the-Go Child

On September 9, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

My kids have been enamored of technology since they were very small.  I recall our older children, sitting at the desk with my husband, not more than two or three, and he was already teaching them to use and control a mouse.  Not such a big deal, nowadays, but that was more than 20 years […]

Share Button

My kids have been enamored of technology since they were very small.  I recall our older children, sitting at the desk with my husband, not more than two or three, and he was already teaching them to use and control a mouse.  Not such a big deal, nowadays, but that was more than 20 years ago.  All five of our children have been exposed to, interested in and skilled with electronics and technology from a very young age.  That probably comes from having parents who are interested in and excited about newly emerging technologies.  It’s no surprise then, that our grandchildren are equally enthusiastic about the latest technology offerings.  The cool part for me, is that over time, companies have started gearing that technology specifically to the interests and abilities of the chubby-fingered prodigies whose dexterity and motor skills can make it somewhat frightening to hand over a tablet or handheld that may have cost several hundred dollars.  VTech has always been at the forefront of child-geared technology and electronics.  That hasn’t changed in the twenty or more years, since our oldest were small.

Today, I broke out one of their latest offerings, for our grandchildren, the MobiGo2.  This is a durable, handheld that is a good size for small hands to be able to control and grip.  Unlike other handheld game systems, the MobiGo2 incorporates education and fun in such a way that the kids don’t even realize they’re learning.  Our grandkids have spent hours testing and “playing” games that are reinforcing letter identification, mathematics skills, sequencing, memory, small motor skills, vocabulary, spelling, problem-solving and so much more.  Whether they play one of the two pre-installed games that came on the MobiGo, one of the free games we’ve downloaded, color pictures in the coloring program, or use the digital photo album, our grandchildren have been engaged in activities that challenge them to think and learn as they play.  The unit’s display, slides up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, protected underneath, to add to and enhance the gaming and learning experiences.  It also has a built-in microphone, which can be used for everything to making voice commands in the programs or “blowing” bubbles in the digital album.  In the end, MobiGo 2 is just plain fun and the kids never want to put it down. They have had great lessons in patience and sharing, waiting for their turn with this fun educational toy.

liddy

Something I find totally unique about the MobiGo 2 is its ability to sense motion.  I haven’t seen this done effectively in other handheld toys for younger children.  What this means is that in games like Hamster Highway where children are racing down a path working on eye-hand coordination and small motor skills, the game is held like a steering wheel and “steered” to dodge obstacles and move forward on the track.  Gently turning the game back and forth or tilting it forward or backward allows the child to speed up, slow down or turn left or right.  This is pretty impressive technology in a product designed for three- to eight-year-olds.

closeup

The MobiGo 2 also has the potential to be used as an e-reader, with several stories anticipated to be available for download, very soon. Registering the game allowed us to download three additional programs for free.  The other programs available for download range in price from $2.99 to $4.99.  The unit came with an installation CD that allows your MobiGo 2 to interact with your computer, loading a program called Learning Lodge onto your desktop, which allows for downloading new apps and programs and storing your account information.  The MobiGo2 has around 75 MB of internal storage memory.  Downloaded programs can be moved back and forth between the MobiGo2 and your computer if you want to free up memory for new games, apps or stories.  They will be stored in your downloaded games folder under your account in the Learning Lodge.

v tech

If I could change one thing about the MobiGo 2 it would be to be able to add multiple users to the unit at one time.  Currently, only one user account can be tracked and progress saved.  You can change the name on the account, but then progress previously tracked is lost.  So, currently three grandkids play with the MobiGo 2 and use the same account.  Ideally they would each have their own user accounts and we would be able to track their learning progress individually.  Other than that, I have been very pleased with the MobiGo 2, both as entertainment and educational tool.

MobiGo 2

The best part about MobiGo 2 is how portable it is.  I don’t worry about the kids walking around with it, carrying it off to play or taking it in the car.  It is sturdy and durable, made for little hands and easy to toss in a diaper bag or carry-all tote, while moving from playroom to homeschool table to playhouse or even to the park or on a roadtrip.  It can easily go where your kids go and the entertainment and educational possibilities are extensive.

I think that MobiGo 2 would be an asset to any early elementary homeschooling program and a fabulous gift option with the holidays approaching.  Whether you’re using it for fun, for education, or for both; I believe your that the MobiGo 2 is a good value for the price; and the children in your home will have hours of fun using it as they learn.

I participated in this campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech.  I received a MobiGo 2 to gather information for this review and test the product, myself.  No monetary compensation was received.  As with all Busy-at-Home product reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.

Tagged with:
 

Hasbro’s Annual Fan and Games Event! Over 125 DOLLARS in Q-pons and Daily Deals!!!

On January 19, 2012, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

Are you looking for great savings and amazing daily deals on some of your favorite Hasbro toys and games, then check out Hasbro’s Annual Fun and Game Event going on now! You (U.S. only) can register today at www.hasbro.com/fun to print over $125 in coupons (quantities are limited) and get access to incredible daily deals. […]

Share Button

Are you looking for great savings and amazing daily deals on some of your favorite Hasbro toys and games, then check out Hasbro’s Annual Fun and Game Event going on now! You (U.S. only) can register today at www.hasbro.com/fun to print over $125 in coupons (quantities are limited) and get access to incredible daily deals. All daily deals include free shipping!

Kids, ages 6 – 13, can also get in on the action by playing games for a chance to win hourly prizes from their favorite brands, such as My Little Pony, FurReal Friends, Littlest Pet Shop, Beyblade, Nerf, Transformers, Connect 4, Bop It! and Simon Flash.

Mastermind and Mastermind Towers: Review and Giveaway

On May 10, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

How do you teach your kids to think critically and analyze available information to solve a puzzle or problem?  There are several logic and/or critical thinking curricula available in workbook format, though most are written for upper elementary and older students.  To include younger children and your hands-on learners in mastering these critical thinking skills, […]

Share Button

How do you teach your kids to think critically and analyze available information to solve a puzzle or problem?  There are several logic and/or critical thinking curricula available in workbook format, though most are written for upper elementary and older students.  To include younger children and your hands-on learners in mastering these critical thinking skills, there is another option–Mastermind.  As a homeschool mom, I’m always on the lookout for products and activities that can reinforce, or better teach, concepts that our kids need to master.  Critical thinking and analysis are learned over time, with experience and practice.   A way to gain that experience and practice without doing the same old thing or another workbook page always enhances learning.  I love the idea of a challenging game that encourages my kids to THINK while they are having fun.  My family found that both Mastermind and Mastermind Towers did exactly that.  I could almost see the new synapses forming as our children tried to break the code created by a sibling.  :)  It required memory, analysis of the data and creation of a new hypothesis based upon that data, until they finally arrived at the correct sequence to crack the code.

 

A game in progress. She got turned around and played the same sequence twice. :) She won on the next turn by switching the pink and purple pegs and leaving the green and orange in place.

Mastermind Classic gives players ten turns to “break the code” created by their opponent.  Breaking the code consists of determining the colors of the 4 pegs selected by the Codemaker, and their sequence.  With each guess the Codemaker lets the Codebreaker know how many pegs are the correct color and how many are in the correct order.  This is done by placing red and white pegs at the top of the corresponding row.  Using that information, the codebreaker completes the next row, using clues from previous guesses.  Each player gets ten chances to decipher the puzzle and the one who can break the other’s code, in the fewest turns, is the winner.

There is no flimsy, cardboard game board to take care of.  The heavy plastic game tray actually has a built-in compartment to contain all the game pegs.  As a mom, I know what you’re thinking — all those tiny pieces!  This game is definitely created for slightly older children and adults.  For kids in the lower elementary grades or preschool, Mastermind Towers would be a more appropriate choice.  The concept is the same as the original game, but with fewer and much larger game pieces.  Each child builds a sequence of pictures into their tower and the other must try to “break the code” (determine the sequence of the pictures).  As they ask questions and receive the answers, they must exercise their critical thinking muscles and memory to remember the location of pieces they have already guessed correctly and “rearrange” the others to complete the sequence.  Another nice thing about Mastermind Towers, is that you could work with as few as three tiles for younger children, to help the game play go more quickly, as well as to build their thinking skill and confidence.  As they become more adept at deciphering the code, you can increase the number of tiles used.

 

Mastermind Towers is a fun, brain-stretching game for the younger members of your family.

If you think Mastermind looks somewhat familiar, you’re right.  This is a remake of a classic game from a time when conversation and face-to-face activity around the family dining table were commonplace.  If you’re looking for a frugal way to boost your family’s thinking power and reconnect over some fun and challenging activity, Mastermind games will be sure to be a hit in your home, as they were in ours.  These games have won several awards and Mastermind Towers was featured on ABC’s Hottest Toys for Fall in October of 2010.  At only $15 for the Mastermind Classic Edition and $12 for Mastermind Towers Animal Edition these are great values for a frugal family entertainment budget.  There are other editions available, as well, including Ultimate Mastermind for you hardcore brain-builders.  :)

Pressman Toys has been incredibly generous and is sponsoring two giveaways, one for the classic Mastermind Game and one for a Mastermind Towers Animal edition.  Entry is easy, so be sure you register for a chance to share these fun educational games with your own family!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter.  Mandatory Entry must be completed before Optional entries will be counted.  Two winners, one for each game, will be selected by random drawing, using random.org.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday May 29, 2011.

 

Mandatory Entry:

In a comment below, tell me which Mastermind game edition would be a good fit for your family.

 

Additional Optional Entries:

  1. Like Mastermind Board Game on Facebook and leave a comment below with your Facebook name, letting me know you did.
  2. Follow Mastermind on Twitter and leave a comment below with your Twitter handle, letting me know you did.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect. Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar). You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription. Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page. Enter to win one of two Mastermind boardgames at Busy-at-Home. Test your powers of reasoning, critical thinking and logic! http://ow.ly/4RJzx Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  8. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily) : Win 1 of 2 Mastermind boardgames. Test your powers of reasoning, critical thinking and logic! @mastermindgame @busyathome http://ow.ly/4RJzx Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

 

I received Mastermind and Mastermind Towers from Pressman Toys, in order to test them and conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.  The winner will receive their prize directly from Pressman Toys at the conclusion of the giveaway.


 

 

 

Candyland Board Game, a Review and Giveaway, A Frugal Craft Activity and Birthday Party Fun!

On November 29, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

Boardgames are a great way to get the whole family involved in activities that don’t involve TVs and game controllers.  In comparison, board games are also a frugal way to stretch the family entertainment budget and include more members of your family at one time.  The only time board games have ever presented an issue […]

Share Button

Boardgames are a great way to get the whole family involved in activities that don’t involve TVs and game controllers.  In comparison, board games are also a frugal way to stretch the family entertainment budget and include more members of your family at one time.  The only time board games have ever presented an issue in our house is when the wide range of ages comes into play.  When everyone is gathered around the table, laughing, visiting and having so much fun, even the littlest members of the party want to be a part of the festivities.  Sometimes, board games are just too difficult for the toddler crowd to play and understand well.  A special game table with your younger family members or guests can be a great solution, so no one is left out of the fun.  Hasbro has created many great ways to include even the littlest tykes in a family game night or game night party at home.  The one I want to share with you, today, is Candy Land.

Children as young as three can enjoy this simple game with ease.  Our eight-year-old easily taught the rules to preschoolers at the birthday party where we reviewed and debuted this fun adventure through a child’s perfect imaginary candy kingdom.   Hasbro sent me a Flip Camera to post some videos for you.  Be kind, as this is my first foray into v-blogging.   After rewatching this first video, I realized the girls should probably have shuffled the cards a little more,  :) but I think overall, they did a fine job considering they were only eight, four and three.


The Candy Land game board is sturdy and emblazoned with bright inviting colors that grab a child’s attention and pull them into the imaginative game play.  I love that it is such a creative way for little ones to learn colors, shapes and counting, as well as cooperation and patience as they play the game.  Hasbro’s description of the game is “Create delicious treats at the Cupcake Commons to deliver along the way, participate in a thrilling snowboard race down the Ice Cream Slopes with the Duke of Swirl, take a relaxing train ride through Gummy Hills and climb to the top of Chocolate Mountain.  Be sure to make friends with Gramma Gooey, Lord Licorice, Princess Frostine and Princess Lolly of Lollypop Woods throughout your adventure, as you race to meet King Kandy at the grand entrance to the Candy Castle. ”  The girls loved all the imaginary stops along the board.


Look at this sweet birthday cake.  Doesn’t the butterfly look like it could fly right off the Candy Land game board with its gumdrop wings? My daughter made it!


And if you still wonder how creative she is, look at this cute activity she planned. The kids made butterfly party favors to take home. It was simple and great fun! She glued googily eyes and pipe cleaners to a clothespin and filled snack-sized zip-top bags about 2/3 full with fruity ring cereal. The kids colored their clothespins any way their imaginations inspired them and then they twisted the cereal bags in the center and clipped the clothespin onto the twisted bag. The colorful, fruity cereal became the butterfly wings. A fun activity and tasty treat for a Candy Land adventure!

A googily-eyed clothespin with pipe cleaner antennae.

A zip-top snack bag of fruity ring cereal.

Creative and inexpensive butterfly party favor. Don't you think these would be perfect flying around in Candy Land, visiting with King Kandy and landing in the Lollypop Woods?




We had such a fun time at the party and Hasbro was so generous to allow us to give away Candy Land games as party favors to each guest.  They were so generous, in fact, that we had a couple games left over which will be the favors at another birthday party this weekend!  They are passing that generosity on to Busy-at-Home readers, as well.  One of you will win a Candy Land board game for your own family!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or over and a resident of the U.S. to enter.  Deadline to enter is December 12, 2010.

Mandatory Entry:


Leave a comment telling me your family’s favorite activity for a family night at home.

Additional Optional Entries:

  1. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand toolbar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  5. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageI’m entered to win Candy Land, a fun, family board game from Hasbro and Busy-at-Home.  http://busy-at-home.com/blog/scribblish-review-and-giveaway/ Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

I received a Candy Land game from Hasbro, through My Blog Spark, in order to conduct this review.  I also received games to distribute to party guests, a Flip camera to video the party and a gift card to purchase supplies for the party.  No monetary compensation was received to write the review and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Scribblish Review and Giveaway

On October 22, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
Share Button

My family is about as electronically, technologically “wired” as we can be.  That’s not always something I’m happy about.  It has it’s benefits and drawbacks.  The thing I like the least about it, is that we have created the potential for each of us to be off in our own corner, doing our own thing.  […]

Share Button

My family is about as electronically, technologically “wired” as we can be.  That’s not always something I’m happy about.  It has it’s benefits and drawbacks.  The thing I like the least about it, is that we have created the potential for each of us to be off in our own corner, doing our own thing.  That’s why when My Blog Spark and Hasbro asked if I would be interested in reviewing Hasbro’s newest board game, Scribblish, I jumped at the opportunity.

Now, anyone who has known me for any length of time, knows I am NOT a huge board game fan.  Years of playing with people who were so competitive they couldn’t just have fun, left a bad taste in my mouth; and I have tended to avoid them, ever since, to the detriment of our children, I’m afraid.   My desire to bring everyone back around the table for a family fun time, convinced me to step outside my comfort zone and give Scribblish a try, however.

Scribblish Game Pieces

Scribblish is part of Hasbro’s line of Cranium games.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.  The first time we played we had a blast; and though I’m not naming names, the howling, roll-on-the-floor laughter created some bladder issues for select members of the gaming party.  This is a terrible genetic phenomenon we have come to accept as part of extreme joviality in our family.  Good grief!  That’s sort of a detour down a rabbit trail and bordering on slightly personal, but I guess we’ve known each other long enough to bond over extreme giggling.  :)

If you remember playing a game in grade school, called telephone, you already understand the premise behind Scribblish.  Up to six players can play at one time and we discovered that it is most fun when more people are playing.  We are actually planning to purchase a second game, so that up to 12 of us can play at once.

Each player has a strip of paper, about the size of a grocery list.  Players must select one of three different phrases printed on a card they draw from a stack in the center of the table.  They copy that phrase onto the top line of their paper and in the space underneath, draw their interpretation of that phrase.  Then they roll the paper into its holder, covering the phrase and leaving only the picture exposed.  A roll of the included dice determines which direction and how many spaces around the table that the papers are to be passed – one to the left, two to the right, etc.  When each player receives their new paper, they look at the picture that is showing and on the line underneath, right a caption for the picture.  Then, they roll the paper into the holder until only their caption is showing.  Roll the dice again and pass the paper and the players look at the captions they’ve received and then draw an illustration of it underneath.  Repeat this process two more times and then it’s time for the big reveal!  All the holders are laid in the center of the table with only the final sketch showing.  Each player tries to determine from that final picture, which holder contains the paper they started with.  When the game sheets are pulled from their holders, the hilarity of how “this became that” ignites peals of laughter and the frenzied passing of the sheets among players to see what has become of their original phrase.

I should mention that Scribblish comes with a timer, which we promptly eliminated.  It was the only disappointing thing about the game.  It was not loud enough to be heard and played intermittent “music”, stopping and starting several times through the “play time” and then finally winding down and stopping completely.  The problem was that it played so softly, and then the start and stop nature of the music, made it almost impossible to notice when it had actually stopped for good.  We put the timer back in the box and never looked back.  The quality of the timer was the one and only disappointment.  We have had hours of great fun and enjoyment playing this simple game.  Since that first evening, a week ago, we have played again as a family, hosted a game night with friends and played it for entertainment at a youth group activity.  It has been just as well received on each occasion.

Scribblish is an excellent way to connect your family and involve them all in a fun activity together.  It is easy to learn and to play, so even children as young as 8 or 9 can play without difficulty.  If you can’t wait to have one of your own, get $2 off your online purchase by visiting the Cranium Facebook page and obtaining the promo code.

Hasbro has generously offered a Scribblish game as a giveaway for one Busy-at-Home reader.  I can’t wait for your family to share in the fun!

Giveaway Rules:

You must reside in the United States and be 18 or older to enter.  The mandatory entry must be completed before any additional entries will be counted.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST) on Sunday, November 7.  Winner will be selected by random drawing utilizing random.org.

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment telling me your family’s favorite Hasbro board game.

Additional Optional Entries:

  1. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  5. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageI’m entered to win Scribblish, a hilariously fun, family board game from Hasbro and Busy-at-Home.  http://busy-at-home.com/blog/scribblish-review-and-giveaway/ Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

I received a Scribblish game from Hasbro, through My Blog Spark, in order to conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Tagged with:
 

wordpress themes