Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mary Poppins on Broadway with a Preschooler

If you were wondering if the show is appropriate for a young kid, my answer would be ‘yes.’ But then again that’s coming from somebody who just took his 4-year old to a Tom Jones concert just a few weeks ago.

We saw this show recently as it’s now traveling and in Los Angeles until February Thankfully the stop saves us the trip.

We were a little surprised out how different it was from the original Disney movie. It still has the main catchy tunes, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Spoonful of Sugar, etc. but peppered with some pretty adult themes based around the parents. Something that is probably closer to the book and not the sugarcoated movie - I’m now curious to read it.

My daughter absolutely loved the dancing, singing, and, of course Mary Poppins herself. So much that she was begging for the kid-sized Mary Poppins bag being sold at the souvenir stand, something that reminded us that this was of course still a Disney show. When we got to the front of the line 10 minutes later she changed her mind and wanted the $30 kid-sized Mary Poppins umbrella. Later while outside she was seriously disappointed that when opened it didn’t make her fly. For $30 I’d almost expect it to.

Overall the show was quintessential Broadway. Singing, dancing, amazing sets, dazzling effects, and top-notch performers. A pretty amazing and ideal theatrical show; so much that I was left wondering why it took anybody this long to do bring this to stage.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fresh Summer Vacations for Kids

Thought I’d make a quick review for a worthy cause that affects kids 6-12 in the northeast –
A non-profit organization called “The Fresh Air Fund” gives thousands of inner-city kid’s trips to the country to visit a volunteer host family or a trip to one of their camps.

Two things you can do to help:
1. Donate. If you donate before June 30th, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.
2. Host a Child. If you’re in the northeast - open your home for one or two week to enjoy a summer vacation.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top iPhone Applications for Preschoolers

It might not be commonly known yet but the iPhone can be a valuable distraction for a preschooler. That is if you’re brave enough to even let your preschooler touch your precious electronic gadget.

My iPhone has come in handy at restaurants, waiting for the wife while she’s shopping, doctor’s office, parties with no kids, airplanes, car rides, movie theaters, work, etc.

As of today, my daughter has tried about 30+ iPhone apps geared for children 2-5 and these are ones that stand out from the others. And the best part is, some actually teach while keeping her entertained.

ABC Animals - $3. A simple ABC flashcard application that not only says the letter and associate picture, but your preschooler can trace the letter too. Well worth the $3 when compared to physical flashcards.

Disney Fairies Fly (Tinker Bell) - $5. This has to be one of the best looking games on the iPhone. Beautiful art, animation, and music. My daughter has some difficulty trying to get the game started as the start buttons don’t flash, or give voice prompts so I usually have to “start” the game. Game play is fairly simple, just tilt up and down. I recommend this for a fairly proficient 3-4 year old with some experience with games.

Preschool Arcade - $1. A very fun preschool application with 3 games in 1. ABC Invasion being the very best of the bunch, and the claw-crane coming in 2nd. The pinball could use some work as we’re still not sure what exactly you’re suppose to do. Hopefully they’ll correct on an update.

iChalky - $2. This is a weird one as there’s not much for an adult to be amused with, but for a preschooler it’s like playing with a trapped bug in a jar.

Wheels on the Bus - $3. A very clever application of the famous song that features interative features such as wiping the window and open/closing the door.
The best part is hearing the song in other languages.

iNeko - FREE. It’s like having a real cat without all the work. It seems my daughter’s favorite thing to do is shaking the phone to change the BG color. And out course waking the cat up, which is something real cats love.

Jirbo Memory Match - FREE. Another great free game! My daughter can literally play this for a full 15 minutes without moving. I want to send these game creators a bucket of chicken as thanks for their birthday.

Koi Pond - $1. If there’s just one game you have to get, it’s this one. It’s just like having your own personal fish tank except without the cleanup and smell. My daughters’ favorite thing to do are shaking the iPhone to feed them, making ripples in the water, and keeping her finger still until the fish nibble at it. She still swears to this day it tickles when they do that!

MewMew Tower - $2. This game is not only a preschool favorite, it’s one of mine too as I’ve always wanted to stack cats (personal record 41.) My daughter loves to stack them and then try to balance them by tilting the iPhone. She breaks out laughing when they all squeal and fall down. She has a dark side, just like me.

Preschool Adventure - $1. This game is such a great bargain, 5 really good games in one very well done application. There’s narration, funny noises and animation, and did I mention it’s only $1?

Spongebob Tickler - $2. A fun application that’s worth a few minutes of distraction with Spongebob’s REAL voice. All you pretty much do is poke at him and he really enjoys it. And he makes bubbles.

Suzy Dress Up - $1. My daughter loves this one, as it’s just dressing up a doll – and – the developer usually releases holiday outfit updates. My only complaint is the art style as I wish it didn’t have to look like a Bratz hoochie. Until somebody makes a princess one, this will do.

Make a Martian - $1. Same makers of Suzy dress up, except you create a freaky looking monster alien. Shaking it usually makes very entertaining results.