Watch Your Favorite Transformers Come to Life!

Do your kids love watching Transformers in Disguise on TV? I’m sure you’ve also spent hours pretending that you were Autobots fighting the Decepticons.  I’m guessing most of the time you get to be the Decepticon, too.  If your kids are great fans, I’m sure they have wished many times over that the Autobots were real.  Here’s some great news!  Aside from watching them on television, you can now actually watch Transformers come to life as never before! Not on the big screen but in your own home through Scholastic’s Augmented Reality book Transformers Robot in Disguise: Where Crown City Comes to Life.

My son Jakei likes watching Transformers Robots in Disguise on Netflix so he was very excited when he saw the book. While waiting for me to download the app, he already became so engrossed in reading the book.  It actually doubles as a character guidebook for the animated series.  It starts with a brief intro about how the Transformers came to planet Earth.  Then there are descriptions and fun trivia about all the featured Autobots and Decepticons.

With the app, Jakei can make the robots walk and drive around. It’s really cool to watch them transform from vehicles to robots.  When the robots are in lifesize, they even leave cracks on the ground when they walk!

 

The kids and I also enjoy taking pictures with life-sized Transformers. We did kinda look weird taking pictures outside (because you can’t very well fit a life-size Transformer inside our house!) but it’s really cool to see pictures of us with life-sized robots.

The app also helps develop kids’ creativity as there is a feature that allows them to create their very own robots.  There’s another feature in the app that we haven’t tried yet.  Friends can actually play together in the Battle Mode.  They get to choose their own Autobots and Decepticons and engage head-to-head in a battle.  All they need to do is to download the apps in their devices and connect the devices to each other.  If they don’t wish to battle it out, they can just choose Transformers from the same team and make them walk around together.

What we love about this book

The kids love this book because they get to use the tablet! LOL! Aside from that, they get to do so many things with different robots. They can also play together even while using gadgets.  When gadget-time is over, they still get to enjoy reading the book and learning more about the Autobots and Decepticons.  They actually know more about the characters now than I do.  Not only kids will love this book as I myself enjoy reading the book and using the app.  This is surely another book that will stay in our collection for years.

Read more about augmented reality here.

Totally Cool Augmented Reality Books from Scholastics

My kids are bookworms! There’s no question about it. Aside from being bookworms, they’re also advanced readers.  One factor that contributed to this is that we kept them away from gadgets during their early years. They learned to appreciate and to love books because of this.  I’m guessing that they love smelling the pages just as I do. Ebooks may be convenient and more affordable but it cannot parallel the satisfaction we get from flipping through page after page of paperbacks.

However, when they reached school age and became exposed to games their classmates play, we eventually allowed them some gadget time – always closely monitored and timed though. 😆 They do look forward to being able to use their tablet or my phone to play games or watch videos. Old-fashioned mom though still prefers that they just stick to their paperbacks.

Most likely, Scholastic knows that many other moms have similar sentiments. This is probably why they came out with their augmented reality books – books that encourage children to read while enjoying their gadget time.

The Magic of Augmented Reality

Whoa! It’s AWESOME!!! This was the first reaction of the two kids when they first tried out the app.  It’s like VR only better!  In virtual reality, the kids play in an artificial environment; but, in augmented reality, they play in their actual environment.  It’s bringing something inanimate to life and interacting with it in real time.

It’s totally cool! It’s showing on the screen like it’s really real! Like it’s really there in real life! – Jade

If you’re still confused about what augmented reality is, just think of it as something like 4-D.  It’s like adding another dimension to a 3-D image. When you hover your phone or tablet over the page, a lifelike image pops out and becomes part of your own environment. THEN you can interact with this image by making it move around and even taking pictures together with it.

 

In the books from Scholastic, our kids’ favorite characters come to life with the power of Digital Magic.  Now that we’re hopefully all clear about what augmented reality is, let’s check the books out in the next two posts.

Click here for Transformers Robot in Disguise: Where Crown City Comes to Life.

Click here for My Little Pony: Where Equestria Comes to Life

Educational Toys For Young Children

In an age of digital gadgets, there is still a place for traditional toys. Kids can have plenty of fun playing with classic types of toys that have entertained children for centuries. Some local brick and mortar toy stores may not carry a selection of unique items that could stimulate the imagination of young children.

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Doll houses are considered to be all time favorites among young girls. Miniature homes include replicas of realistic household furniture and other items. Of course, unique dolls are available to suit the characters of particular girls. Taking on the role of housewife is a great form of play for young girls. Such kids learn at an early age about responsibilities around the household. Perhaps, doll houses can inspire young girls to help their moms and sisters with various chores and other tasks around the house and outside.

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Trains and other locomotive toys inspire the imagination of young boys. Realistic replicas of actual railroad tracks, stations and other features create a fantasy world inside a child’s bedroom. Kids love to watch trains and other vehicles move around. A sense of space and other technical skills may be developed with play sets that include trains and other types of vehicles such as trucks.

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Parents can also shop for musical toys that stimulate the auditory senses and vocals of young kids. Small plastic toys are available to replicate realistic instruments that produce fun sounds. Toddlers can truly enjoy playing with musical toys that bring joy to the ears.

How to Save Money on Toys as a Parent

While it is safe to say that a vast number of UK children are spoiled, doted upon, and have the privilege of growing up in a high income home in which they were never in want of toys, play things, or any other necessities of childhood, this is not the case for all. Many young children who are raised in lower or middle class financial situations have only a relative few number of toys, must share with many others, or have none at all, at least not the most trendy and expensive ones which are naturally the ones they may be begging for each birthday and Christmas.  In this day and age of ballooning technology, toys are no longer just a few marbles in a cloth bag or a stuffed teddy bear that had been passed down. The most highly sought after toys, instead, are several hundred pound video game consoles, collectible and limited edition doll houses and even iPhones and personal computers.

Because of the pressures and desires of children and the influence that their peers may have on their want for this doll or that remote control car, it is no doubt a hardship to not be able to have the toys that you want. But how can you, as a parent, provide your child with the newest and most popular toy on the market without cutting out funds from your food budget or emergency fund? There are a few resources you can turn to in this situation, whether you have few financial savings or none at all.

 

Spending What You Have Wisely

If your toy budget for your children is limited, but you want to be able to stretch your funds as far as you can without going over board, make an effort to follow a few simple rules when purchasing toys. First, try to buy off peak season. Some toy prices spike at the beginning of the summer holidays when many more children are at home, or during the winter holiday season when Christmas gifts galore are being bought. Try buying clearance toys at the end of the summer holidays when children are back in school, and saving them as presents for your kids to enjoy later. Secondly, buy secondhand. Ebay is an excellent resource for purchasing new or used discounted games, puzzles, electronics, figurines, plush characters, cards and more. Or, try your local charity shop to score serious bargains on everything from children’s books to electronic toys.

Another idea that you might want to consider to save money on toys is setting up a toy swap with friends who have children of similar ages. Some families keep their toy collection fresh and interesting by trading toys with another family every month or two, so that the children never get bored with what they have. Essentially, you are getting an entirely new toy set that will keep the kids entertained for hours, without having to spend a single pound. This sharing of the wealth is a great practice to keep up amongst families on limited budgets whose children are of similar ages and interests.

 

Affordable Solutions for Toys

There are a good many toy gifting charity organisations throughout the UK whose purpose is to provide  toys to families who cannot afford them. Supplement your children’s toys through an outlet like this, such as the Toy Trust Children’s Charity UK. Though your child may be demanding of bigger, better, more technological toys with lights and sounds, keep in mind that simpler is usually better. Spend time as a family playing classic card games or creating toys of your own like making your own teddy bear or doll out of used fabric scraps.

A Sweet and Huggable Friend for the 2013 Holidays!

The holidays are right around the corner, and if you have a young girl, you might be struggling with finding the perfect gift for your daughter. How do you bridge that gap between toddler toys and baby toys? What still qualifies as a choking hazard? It’s hard to know if your young daughter will even play the toys you are getting her.

For many little girls, social activity is paramount to a healthy childhood. However, sometimes other people aren’t available for interaction, and this is when a doll becomes a girl’s very best friend! Little girls relate to dolls, they see themselves in them, and they look to them for support, love and fun as they go through life together.

For children over the age of two, the Mooshka Sing Around the Rosie doll is a great friend for them to learn and grow with.  Now that your little girl is walking, talking and gaining independence, a “baby” doll is no longer their equal; it is a younger infant to take care of.  Dressed in adorable headbands, tights and tresses, Mooshka Dolls are more “best friend” than baby and are the perfect partner-in-crime for your growing girl.

dolls1Remember the paper dolls we all used to dress up as children? Mooshka dolls are paper dolls come to life! Through the power of love and friendship, they became sweet, huggable 15” dolls, the perfect size to accompany girls on all of their adventures.  And better yet, Mooshka Sing Around the Rosie Dolls really do sing! When you hold both of their hands, they croon the words to “Ring Around the Rosie,” allowing girls to sing along and dance.  You can hold both of their hands yourself, spin in circles and sing to your hearts content or you can invite your Mooshka doll to join you and your friends as you spin and sing together.Just as long as both of your Mooshka dolls’ hands are held, she will lead you in song for as long as you wish.

dolls2While Mooshka offers many different dolls with various looks and hobbies, there are three different Mooshka Sing Around the Rosie dolls that are as fun and interactive as they are adorable. Myra, a summer baby with bright red hair and blue eyes is a natural born actress. For any little girl who likes to be the star of the show, Myra will keep her company while she reaches for stardom.  Pink-haired Niva is more of an artist, and will be a great friend for your future writer as they pen poems and letters together all day long.  Lara, with green eyes and a flower in her hair is the most adventurous of the bunch! She loves to collect seashells, and will be sure to accompany girls on all of their backyard adventures.

Mooshka dolls are a great holiday gift for any little girl in your life. Dressed in cute dresses and headbands, it will be easy for your daughter to see herself in them, and recognize them as friends and equals. Additionally, the Mooshka fun doesn’t stop with the doll: the Mooshka website offers e-books that you and your daughter can read together or she can play on her own, cute crafts, like paper dolls and puppet theater backdrops, and seasonal Mooshka decorations.

With so many additions, it will be easy for girls to immerse themselves in the world of Mooshka.  Mooshka dolls are also great for when girls spend time with their real-life friends, as they can all hold their Mooshka doll’s hands and sing Ring Around the Rosie together.

For any young girl over the age of two, Mooshka dolls are a great holiday gift that will offer your child endless fun. You can buy your very own Mooshka doll at Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, Target or Little Tikes.

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About the Author

Freelance writer, Jordyn Fisher, contributed this article on behalf of Mooshka dolls, a product of MGA Entertainment.