OzoBot Bit Robot

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

Are you looking for a hot toy this holiday season? Well you need to check out the Ozobot Bit, the world’s smallest programmable robot. This little robot gamifies STEM and computer science learning for kids through game based activities and digital apps! When I first received this robot, I have to admit, at first I was really nervous that I wouldn’t understand the toy and be able to explain it to my kids, but the Ozobot Bit is very easy to operate!

ozobot-bit

About Ozobot Bit

The robot is programmed by users using its custom block-based programming editor, OzoBlockly. If you are familiar with Scratch, Hopscotch, App Inventor, Tynker or Tickle App, then OzoBlockly will fee very intuitive to the users. Essentially, block-based programming is very similar to brick building toys in that you assemble bricks of commands to build your program. OzoBlockly offers five modes from Novice (with icon-based blocks) to Master (with loops, logic and other advanced programming concepts).

My absolute FAVORITE part about this robot (and I just paused writing this post so I could send all of the info to my daughters teacher) is how this can be incorporated into the classroom. On the Ozobot website, there is a section with free STEM/STREAM lesson plans and workshops. Now I will admit, at first I was like “I really don’t see how my daughter would be using this in her 3rd grade classroom”, but I was SOOOOO wrong. Besides the computer science aspect of this Ozobot Bit robot, in that educators section, they have a lesson plan for using this robot in a literature lesson. As soon as I saw that, mind started going a mile a minute thinking about all the cool things kids and teachers could do with this little robot! Kids learn by doing. Thrown in a little technology and not only are they learning the material, so in this case, the story, but they are also thinking logically, working together in small groups and solving a problem (programming the robot).

Other Cool Features

  • Program is loaded using light communication. No cables or Bluetooth — simply load through flashing lights!
  • Built-in interactive reference guide, examples and challenges to get you started.
  • OzoBlockly works in most modern web browsers running on PCs, Mac OS X, Windows and Linux and iOS and Android tablets.
  • JavaScript preview mode (coming soon).

About Evollve, INC.

Our journey began in the spring of 2012 with an idea of finding creative ways to engage young minds and prepare them to succeed in an evolving digital world. Technology is an essential component to daily living and is integrated in almost everything we use and consume. At its core is computer science, critical thinking and programming and we believe it is our responsibility to teach our kids to not just be users of technology but makers of it. 

We also believe that the best way to learn is to have fun, so we set out to create Ozobot, a robotic gaming ecosystem that promotes social interaction, computational thinking and confidence building through competitive play and interactive games.

Since its launch, Ozobot has garnered over a dozen of top industry awards such as 2015 KAPi Awards, CES 2015 Editors’ Choice Awards, and the 2015 Brain Toy award.

If you are still looking for that one cool toy to get your kids this holiday season, definitely pick up one of these! Not only will your kids love it, but they will be learning while they play!!

Buy Ozobot Bit HERE!

Bring the Minions Movie Home for the Holidays!

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

Every year, on Christmas Eve, my husband and I give the kids a new pair of pajamas to wear that night. For the last couple of years, we have decided to stay home on Christmas Eve and do stuff as a family. In past years we’ve ordered Chinese food and watched a movie. However, this year I thought it would be fun to put together a family fun night basket together for the kids with their pajamas, the Minions movie and a new board game. This years board game will be Say Anything Family. I’ll also throw in some microwavable popcorn and candy to watch the movie.

Doesn’t this sound like a good idea? The kids crave family time. Shoot…who am I kidding, so do I and what better way to spend time together as a family than to watch a movie and laugh over a board game?!?

This year, if you are looking for a movie to give your kids for the holidays or just because, you really need to pick up the Minions movie. It is currently available right now on Digital HD, but if you are like me and you prefer to have the Blu-Ray­™, if will be hitting stores on December 8, 2015! Just in time for the holidays!

Minions-movie

About the Minions Movie

Since the dawn of time, Minions have served (and accidentally eliminated) history’s most despicable villains. After their latest explosive mistake leaves them without an evil leader, the Minions fall into a deep depression. With the tribe on the bring of collapse, three unlikely heroes–Kevin, Stuart and Bob–embark on a journey to find a new big boss. When their quest leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award® winner Sandra Bullock), our three heroes must face their biggest challenge yet: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation!

Bonus Features (exclusive to Blu-Ray™ and Digital HD)

  • Three all new original mini-movies
    • Cro Minion
    • Competition
    • Binky Nelson Unpacified
  • Deleted Scene – Me, Myself and Stuart
  • Around the World Interactive Map – Explore the world of the Minions with this interactive map featuring a collection of games, trivia, featurettes, storyboards, and more all themed to movie locations.
  • Behind the Goggles – The Illumination Story of the Minions – Get a “behind the goggles” look at the history and evolution of everyone’s favorite yellow henchmen.
  • Illumination MacGuff Animation
  • Jingle Bells Minion Style
  • The Secret Life of Pets theatrical trailer

DVD Bonus Features

  • Deleted Scene – Me, Myself, and Stuart
  • Jingle Bells Minion Style
  • The Secret Life of Pets theatrical trailer

For more information about the Minions movie, you can check them out on the web at:

Official Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Pinterest

Tumblr

Have you seen the Minions movie? What’s your favorite part?

Art Therapy Collection Subscription

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

As a child, one of the things I enjoyed doing, especially on rainy days, was coloring. I remember my mom having this really cool table in our basement that had a bunch of different matchbook covers on it with a clear coating over top of it and that was our table to color at, play with Play-Doh, etc. We also had a huge shoe box filled with crayons. Ironically enough, my mom still has that shoe box of crayons and my kids now color with them! Being a child always on the go and wanting to play outside with friends, coloring on those rainy days was the next best thing. Now, as an adult, I’d give anything to get back to those rainy days of relaxation with a little art therapy!!

*I received the following for the purpose of my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. All opinions and stories are 100% my own*

I just recently learned about Art Therapy Collection. This subscription based company brings coloring back to adults! It forces us to take time out of our days to relax and do something that brings us back to our childhood…color!

art therapy collection

About Art Therapy Collection

The Art Therapy Collection is a subscription based service that promotes creativity, positivity and relaxation. One of the nice things about this subscription based program is that you can cancel at any time! So…what do you get? Each month you will receive your magazines along with coloring pencils or markers! The pencils and markers you can receive are:

  • Coloring Pencils – Artist quality coloring pencils that allow you to blend them together to create a wide range of shades.
  • Pastel Pencils – Rich colors that can easily be blended or smudged.
  • Metallic Pencils – These pencils add a shimmering effect and sparkle to your pages!
  • Watercolor Pencils – They can be used dry or transformed to give a watercolor finish to your pages!
  • Markers – They come in both brush and extra-fine tip in vibrant shades.

Subscribing is super easy! For just $4.95 (plus $1 shipping & handling), you will receive two coloring magazines, a set of colored pencils, a set of markers and a storage box. If you continue on with your subscription past the first month, each month after that you will receive four more coloring magazines and the following FREE gifts:

  • 2nd shipment – Magazine Tidy Box and an XXL Coloring Poster
  • 3rd shipment – Coloring board
  • 5th shipment – Color Wheel
  • 8th Shipment – Creative Portfolio
  • 12th shipment – Gel Pen Set

Each shipment after the first shipment is just $4.95 per issue (plus $1 shipping & handling per issue). This would make a great holiday gift! You are giving someone the gift of relaxation! To subscribe, visit this secure page.

Who would you give this to?

Malia’s Beach House – Build & Imagine

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

I am very excited about the new toy, Malia’s Beach House by Build & Imagine! My daughter is very into science and technology. She even likes math. I love it! When I was her age, I felt like girls had to like reading and writing, which I did, and boys were the ones that liked science and math. Consequently, that often translated into the thought that girls were not good at science and math, while boys were not good at reading and writing. It wasn’t until I was in Middle School, where I remember the tide changing and more focus was put into getting girls into science and math. More importantly, girls were told they could be good at science and math. I am so glad my daughter is growing up in a world where there are more and more things catering to young girls in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM education).

*I received the following toy for the purpose of this gift guide inclusion. My opinion on the awesomeness of this toy is 100% my own!

Build and imagine

About Malia’s Beach House

Dollhouse meets building blocks meets dress-up dolls in this innovative re-imagining of the classic dollhouse! Children develop early engineering skills by designing a beach house for dolls Malia and Skyler. Decorate the 16 dual sided Story Wall building panels and the dolls with more than 40 magnetic accessories. Features a swimming pool, functional door, living room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms and bathrooms, garden, floor and roof shapes, outfits, accessories, pets and more!

This is really great! I remember having a doll house growing up and the one thing I always wanted to be able to do was change things around and redecorate, but once you wall papered a wall, it was done. While it was a beautiful doll house, it just was not all that fun. Build & Imagine know that kids like to be creative and build, so they came up with a bunch of different play sets that are perfect for boys and girls, ages 4 to 8! Those sets are:

  • Malia’s Beach HouseHop into the shoes of best friends Malia and Skyler as they make music videos, tend to the vegetable garden, and goof off in the pool. Includes Malia & Skyler dolls, 16 dual-sided building panels, and more than 40 magnetic accessories!
  • Marine Rescue Center – Guide Thea on her quest to save endangered sea animals! Includes Thea doll, 15 dual-sided illustrated building panels, and dozens of magnetic accessories including a dolphin, rescue jet, and sea otter!
  • Day at the BeachEmily and Lucas love the beach: running their own surf shop and cafe, lifeguarding, and riding the waves. Includes Emily and Lucas dolls, 10 dual-sided building panels, and more than 40 action packed magnetic accessories.
  • Fairytale TheaterBuild your own Fairytale Theater and act out classic fairtales–or make up your own. Includes 2 wooden actors, 4 dual-sided stage panels, 2 rectangular and 1 triangular curtain panels, and more than 50 magnetic accessories.
  • Pet Portrait StudioAnna and Ethan are helping the local shelter pets prepare for adoption day by providing each pet with a special portrait. Includes Ethan and Anna dolls, 4 wooden pets, 10 dual-sided building panels, and more than 40 magnetic accessories.

Each set ranges in price from $34.99 to $59.99.

Why should this be on your holiday gift giving list this year?

First and foremost, your kids will love these toys by Build & Imagine! I guarantee you they will be taking it apart and building it a bunch of different ways. Not to mention, the creativity…that is pretty great. However, to be a little more technical, this particular toy has gotten on a few lists and won a few awards…

  • Dr. Toy’s 2015 Best Classic
  • PAL Top 10 Language Learning toys
  • Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner
  • The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval

Besides all that, you could get your child one set, have grandma Jean get another set, grandma Jan get another and have Aunt Judy get another and your child could have an entire town built and hours of play time being creative! Beats having your child sitting in front of the t.v. for hours a day on the cold snowy days we will be getting soon enough!

mad scientist

This year for Halloween, Bella decided she wanted to be a Mad Scientist. She came up with the entire costume herself…right down to the black eye shadow we smeared on her face to make her look like an experiment exploded in her face! I thought she did a pretty good job with her costume! So having more toys for little girls and boys that are geared towards STEM education is so important. Whether they are putting together a beach house for a little creative play or concocting some kind of potion, the learning involved will help them in so many other areas of their life! I will always encourage toys that promote STEM education! Like I said, I love that my daughter is so interested in science and hope that she is that mad scientist one day!

Thirty-One Gifts – 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

Every year I get really excited to put together this holiday gift guide. It’s fun for me to share the different products and I like getting the emails from people after the holidays, letting me know that they picked up something that I had shared with them! I have a feeling that this next holiday gift guide item is going to be something many of you will want to pick up. It’s from Thirty-One Gifts!

thirty-one-gifts

I like bags. In fact, I have so many bags, it’s almost silly, but I use each and everyone of them for something. They all serve a purpose. The one bag I don’t have, that everyone seems to have, is that nice Utility Tote by Thirty-One Gifts that you see all the moms toting around at all the kids sports. My friend, Corrine Halaas, sells Thirty-One and she wanted to showcase a couple items in this years Holiday Gift Guide!

First up…the Spirit Cinch Sack. Every kid should have their own cinch sack. You know why? It’s the perfect size for them to put clothes in for an overnight trip to grandma’s house; they can fill it with things to take on a car road trip; use it at school to take their gym clothes back and for; or for anything really. They are very versatile.

IMG_9098

The Spirit Cinch Sack comes in the following colors:

  • Spirit Black
  • Spirit Grey
  • Spirit Navy
  • Spirit Pink
  • Spirit Purple
  • Spirit Red
  • Spirit Royal Blue

Thirty-One Gifts offers a wide variety of ways that you can personalize your item. You have a lot of options when it comes to personalizing. You can…

  • Have it embroidered (name, initials, monogram, etc).
  • Give Care Ribbon, without text
  • Give Care Ribbon, with text
  • Holiday Personalization
  • I ♥  _____ (fill in the blank)
  • Icon-it, without text
  • Icon-it, with text (lots of sports, animals, etc)
  • Large Initial

Honestly, this is one item that should be on everyone’s gift giving list this year! It’s nice when your kids have something that is their very own that they can put their things in. Gift idea…personalize one of these bags for your kids and put some new books in it for them! 

The second item is the Double Up Crossbody. This new item for Thirty-One Gifts features:

  • Snap tab closure
  • 2 interior zipper compartments and 2 open compartments
  • ID window and 3 credit card slots
  • Adjustable, detachable strap

thirtyone-double-up-crossbody

I love that this purse is small. It’s perfect for those days when I really don’t need (or want) to be carrying a bunch of stuff around! The strap is detachable AND the purse is also wristlet strap compatible! If you are like me, this would make you very happy…I love wristlets (you can buy the wristlet strap separate!). Like the Spirit Cinch Sack, you can get the Double Up Crossbody personalized, if you would like!

You’ll want to check out Corrine’s website for details of some pretty amazing specials going on right now! For instance, you know that Utility Tote I mentioned I wanted…for every $35 you spend, you can get the Utility tote for just $20. Say what?!? I know…such a good deal! Already have the Utility Tote…pick up one of the Zipper Pouches for just $5 (with every $35 purchase)!! This amazing customer sale is available until November 24th…so hop on it!

For those of you interested in hosting a party, be sure to contact Corrine through her website. Going on until November 24th, you can receive nearly 70% off on a three-thermal bundle. This is one AMAZING hostess special! This bundle is perfect for entertaining or for you all that like to party on the go!

So tell me…what AND who are you ordering something for (it’s OK if it’s you!!)?