Category: Entertainment + Media

Kubo and the Two Strings: Why this exquisite film is worth a trip to the theater.

If like me, you try to choose carefully when it comes to which movies make sense to see in a theater where it costs you a year’s college tuition for a family of four — and then, decide which movies seem worth forking over the extra few bucks for the 3D experience — I highly recommend the extraordinary Kubo and the Two Strings. This exquisite stop-motion feature from Laika Entertainment and first-time director Travis Knight comes to life so spectacularly on the big screen I would even see it a second time, and that’s saying something. The story of a young, one-eyed Japanese boy on...

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11 family-friendly television shows that everyone can agree on. Seriously.

We’ve been moving away from solo gadget time in my house and exchanging it for family screen time, within reason, of course. That means we all gather around the television and watch something that we all enjoy. Really. With kids ages 5 to 12, you might think that it’s hard to find a television show that we can agree on, but that’s absolutely not the case. Here are 10 family-friendly television shows that are perfect for families to enjoy together, from little kids to tweens and teens, and most importantly, the grown-ups too. Related: Documentaries to watch with kids about other kids:...

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The 9 worst children’s TV shows that made my life a living hell: 2002–2009 Edition

We’re happy to welcome guest columnist, Wendi Aarons. She’s funny. When I was pregnant with my first son, way back in 2001, I had no intention of ever letting him watch television. Expose my precious baby’s developing brain to the mindless crap that spewed from the idiot box? Not I! Instead, I would spend all day, every day lovingly teaching him to calculate sums with the wood abacus I’d handcrafted out of the olive tree in our yard. The olive tree that was nourished by my buried placenta, of course. That grand notion didn’t last long. In fact, it...

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7 fantastic children’s books to pick up before they hit theaters this year.

My kids love to read. But they also love to go to the movies. Luckily, that makes our summer reading easy this year, since I’m going to encourage them to pick up some of the great children’s books that are being adapted into movies this summer and fall. From classics like The Little Prince and The BFG to new favorites like The Queen of Katwe, there are a handful of movies based on kids’ books coming out soon that I know they won’t want to miss. So my rule is, you’ve got to read the book first. Smart, right? Here, 7 terrific children’s books turned movies that we...

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Finding Dory review: What to expect before you take your kids

This past weekend, my family and I braved the crowds to catch the new Finding Dory movie, the long-awaited sequel to the perennial favorite, Finding Nemo. With kids ranging in age from 5 up through 12, I was hoping it was something they would all enjoy, and thankfully I was right, though I think I might have laughed the most. While I don’t feel as though it was as funny or enjoyable as Finding Nemo, the kids were all glad we went, which is a pretty big deal if you’re like me and have a couple of very anxious movie watchers. And it’s not...

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The 2016 National Spelling Bee winners. And tips for getting your kids excited about spelling.

The 2016 National Scripps Spelling Bee finals ended last night and just wow. For the third year running, two amazing kids tied as winners: 13 year old Jairam Pathwar of Upstate NY, and Austin Texas’ Nihar Janga who is only 11. Wow. To clinch the number-one slot from among 285 contestants, Jairam and Nihar persevered through words like juamave, Biniou and zindiq, finally closing the deal with winning words gesellschaft (Nihar) and Feldenkrais (Jairam). All I can think of is that Rosenkrantz and Feldenkrais are Dead, but I know that’s not right. (Turns out it’s a method of education, like Waldorf or Montessori — two words I actually can...

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3 great new albums for your next family road trip

There are few sounds as jarring and mind-numbing as super bored kids whining, Are we there yet? (I mean, could we be little more cliché, kids?) So, with spring break here for lots of families and summer vacations and other road trip opportunities on the way, I’ve rounded up a few new album releases by some of our kindie music favorites to help make the miles a lot more enjoyable. Whether you’re embarking on a long weekend adventure or a cross-country road trip, we think you’ll have fun with some of these sing-a-longs. Related: Family road trip tips: Tons of sanity-savers, tricks, and essential products to keep...

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Powerpuff yourself! Townsville needs you!

Have you ever fancied yourself fighting two-dimensional crime alongside Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup? Well get on it! Thanks to the super fun new Powerpuff Yourself website from Cartoon network, you can create your very own Powerpuff Girl avatar faster than you can say Professor Utonium. Okay so maybe not that fast. But still, somewhat fast. I love how mine came out above! Notice, my superhero accessory is an iPhone. Also my hair is now impervious to bad guys and sudden rises in humidity.   Pick male or female features, clothes, accessories and a backdrop, then download as Wallpaper, a social avatar or a blinding...

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9 fantastic girl power movies for kids, streaming right now

Having two girls, I am definitely hyperaware of their increased interest in a film when it has a strong female lead. That said, when they’re with their male friends, and they’re trying to pick a movie to watch together, I realize how rare it is for some of the kids to be aware of movies beyond the usual big blockbusters. I really think it’s important for all kids to see girls and women in positions of power in the media they watch — whether that means fighting crime, protecting a family, solving a mystery, or just getting through life. I mean, as much...

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Sponsored Message: Never miss a game, season finale or live TV event with Slingbox

This is a sponsored message from Slingbox. Whether you travel for work or just need a diversion while you’re waiting for your kids at soccer practice, Slingbox lets you watch and control all the cable TV channels you already pay for when you’re on the go — on your tablet, phone, PC, or Mac. All with absolutely no monthly fees. – Don’t miss a special offer below! –  Getting set up with Slingbox is easy. Just connect it to your set-top box in seconds via WiFi or Ethernet cable, and the service will “sling” all of your cable channels right to your...

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There’s more to kids’ movies than Disney and Marvel: Top picks from the NY International Children’s Film Festival

This weekend kicks off the NYICFF, or the NY International Children’s Film Festival, which has become one of our favorite annual traditions. We are definitely a movie-loving household, and work hard to find the good stuff.  (Multiple viewings of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic not withstanding.) Which means there are times we spend more time scrolling through Netflix looking for trying to agree on something decent, than watching the actual film. For those of you nodding vigorously right now — or just want something, anything besides the latest shoot-em-up superhero flick or insipid animated franchise — take a look at some of this...

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Where to find 20 of the best romantic movies streaming for Valentine’s Day

We get it: Valentine’s Day with kids means you may not be headed out to some big concert, to the opera, to Paris (hey, we can dream, right?) or even to a local joint for dinner. So if your plan, by preference or by necessity, is to spend Valentine’s night in bed with your loved one, a glass of wine and the remote control, we’re here for you with some of our favorite romantic movies that are now streaming on the big services. Grab a cozy blanket and cuddle up to a sweet foreign film like Amélie, an emotional romantic drama like The Notebook, or a more modern take...

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TIA Girl Club for Tweens: A monthly subscription of role models

While I can’t pick my daughters’ friends for them, I do try to help my girls grow up with smart, healthy, and interesting women as role models. You know, not the ones whose biggest life advice has to do with how to take a great selfie. So, I’m really interested in the new monthly club for girls, the TIA Girl Club — TIA stands for Today I Am . It was was designed by mom Vanessa Schenck to help tweens 8 to 13 navigate those tricky years with advice and inspiration from wonderful, successful women in a whole range of fields. The club is built around the notion that girls should use their...

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Feelings, nothing more than feelings: Inside Out now available on DVD and digital download

If you missed Disney Pixar’s Inside Out when it came to the theaters, perhaps you thought that getting kids to watch an animated movie about “feelings” would be about as exciting to them as one of those hour-long health movies that they have to watch in school. And yet, after laughing and crying through the film together — even my picky young teen — we can’t wait to do it all over again in the comfort of our home with the release of Inside Out on Blu-Ray/DVD. Just in time for a long, active weekend with family, when a little quiet time in front of the TV might be...

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Fids and Kamily names the best kids and family albums of 2015

If you want to know about the best of the best in music for kids and families, you have got to check out Fids and Kamily, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. This annual poll is voted on by publishers like us who cover the best kids’ music, as well as other notable people in the kids’ music industry. We take this role very seriously, as we listen to dozens and dozens of new music releases each month, just to help pare it down to those amazing tunes that appeal to kids, but that we adults really like too. And thankfully, there are tons of fantastic artists lending their...

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5 fun, easy ways to celebrate 10-21-2015, or Back to the Future Day. Whoa, the future really is now.

Though there have been many incorrect memes circulating on social media over the years, today, October 21, 2015, is the actual day that Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and Jennifer first left their cushy 1989 lives to travel “to the future” in Back to the Future Part II. Meaning that, today, we are finally the future that was envisioned 30 years ago. While the future as conceived in 1989 isn’t quite what we have today–check out this entertaining article in The Guardian which compares Back to the Future predictions with 2015 reality, here are a few cool ways to take advantage of the...

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Sponsored Message from Hulu: 4 hot series to catch up on after the kids are in bed

This post is brought to you by Hulu Welcome back to fall, parents! If you’re like us, this is the time of year you start diving back into the series you missed over the summer — and realize just how many you’ve always meant to start watching but never did. Well thanks to the genius of streaming video, and in particular our sponsor Hulu, you can do just that! Whether you feel like the only person in your group of friends who hasn’t seen a popular show or you can just use a break from all the intense dramas with a little light comedy —...

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If you want the newest kids’ music from The Pop Ups and Lisa Loeb, there’s only one place you can get them: Amazon

If you want to get your hands–and ears–on the two new albums from CMP favorites The Pop Ups and 90’s pop icon Lisa Loeb, there’s only one place you’ll find them: Amazon. That’s right, Amazon is showing its support for kids’ music by exclusively debuting albums by these two GRAMMY-nominated artists, and all of you lucky Amazon Prime members in the US and UK can stream them absolutely free. About a year ago, I shared this cool perk of being an Amazon Prime member: Free kids songs to stream as a way to “try before you buy” additional music to share...

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Peanutize yourself! Then be best friends with Lucy and Snoopy like you always wanted to.

Yes, it’s to promote a movie, but that’s never stopped us from playing with something totally fun online, like the new Get Peanutized website, in which you can turn yourself into a Peanuts character.  You know you want to. Hop online and in seconds (depending how picky you are) you can customize your hair, skin, clothes, and background, until you just may bear a resemblance to someone who should be doing that cute little dance next to Linus and Snoopy to a Vince Guaraldi piano theme. Let’s just say I just did one (with my daughter’s help) and shared it with with Kristen...

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Documentaries to watch with kids about other kids: 6 entertaining and thought-provoking films we love

Here’s an idea: The next time your kids ask (politely, of course) to watch their favorite movie — as in, the animated feature or superhero flick they’ve seen a million times — why not suggest a documentary instead? Now before you roll your eyes like my husband, who insists that “documentaries aren’t movies” I’m not talking about some monotonous British voice narrating educational nature scenes like when I was a kid. So far this year, I’ve been captivated by documentaries on everything from Kurt Cobain, to Scientology, to mountain climbing, that have hit theaters nationwide. And now, thank to streaming services like Amazon, Netflix,...

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This is kids’ music? 6 new family albums that may surprise even the pickiest adult listeners

I know there are parents who say they don’t like kids’ music and don’t understand why kids can’t just listen to whatever the adults are listening to, perhaps just quickly turning down the volume on their own playlists when the lyrics get a bit too mature. But, like Stefan Shepard of Zooglobble once said, and I paraphrase, if kids can — and should — have their own books, movies and television shows, why shouldn’t they have their own age-and-developmentally appropriate music that happens to be awesome too? If you haven’t learned from our own site by now, not all kids’ music...

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Maya Rudolph, Lisa Loeb and Chris Ballew join the must-listen musical magic that is Simpatico. Also? Men at Work. Really.

What happens when you mix the gorgeous voice of kindie favorite Renee Stahl of Renee & Jeremy with a motley vocal crew that includes Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Caspar Babypants, Lisa Loeb, and guest appearances from the lead singers of Men at Work and Toad the Wet Sprocket? The result is Simpatico, the perfectly named, perfectly cohesive album for families that is full of surprises. Like Maya Rudolph singing Prince, and totally killing it. I feel so fortunate to get the scoop on this fabulous new album that I think tons of families will love, right from opener Gather Round, in which...

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Fantastic tween books made into movies: 8 adventure-packed stories to help get older kids reading more.

We have no shortage of movie nights in the summer, but I would love to get my kids to crack open their books more often when school isn’t in session. And I think I’ve found a way to encourage them to read more while still keeping movie night on the calendar: I’m going to offer them great action and adventure filled tween books that were made into movies, with the caveat that we can only watch the movie afterwards. Whether you chose to read the titles aloud to your kids as a family story, or if your reader would rather finish the...

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11 of our favorite classic shows now streaming on Hulu. Got about 200 free hours?

This post is brought to you by Hulu. So by now, you all may know that we are pop culture junkies to varying degrees around here. We are also unabashedly nostalgic. Which is why our newest sponsor Hulu (yay, Hulu!) is pretty much making our days right now — or late nights, really — with their huge roster of classic TV shows available for streaming.  We’re not even kidding, you’re going to be so down the throwback TV rabbit hole after you see how many wonderful blasts from your past are available on demand, right now, this very second. (Aw, Les Nessman. We...

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#UnguiltyPleasures with Kristen and Liz: Food confessions

We’re so happy to be back with our third #UnguiltyPleasures video episode! (Can you tell we’re having fun?) This time we’re talking about food. More specifically, the foods we love — but maybe we’re not supposed to love quite as much as we do. In other words, food confessions. As parents, this can be such a guilt-laden topic. And as much as we like to consider ourselves to be pretty up on health and nutrition, we freely admit we like to indulge every now and then, whether it’s cereal for a snack (or um, dinner) or just eating peanut butter out of the jar with a...

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Beautiful new music for babies to delight our youngest listeners and their parents

We have spent years sharing the very best in kids’ music so that our children can grow up with great tunes written for the person they are now—and not the person they are going to be in 15 years, or—if it’s a booty song—hopefully never. So keep reading for three new albums filled with beautiful music for babies to share with your very youngest listeners. And, because these albums are awesome, you’ll love hearing the songs too. Long time kindie favorite, Caspar Babypants has created another great album for young kids, though this time at a gentler, slower pace. His new album Night Night! is...

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Introducing #UnguiltyPleasures, a new video series starring… us!

Okay, so we’ve been holding out on you all. Just a little. We are so so excited to be launching a campaign today that we’re calling #UnguiltyPleasures. We’ve been talking about this idea forever, ever since the idea of “mom guilt” entered our vocabularies, which we think was uh, prepartum.  We’re tired of the guilt thing that women and moms face daily in their lives, and how for some reason, we’re not really supposed to enjoy so many of the little things that give us joy in our lives. So we decided, we’re not calling them Guilty Pleasures any more. From now on, they’re Unguilty Pleasures. And we can’t think...

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Olive Us are excited about the new 1st Film Festival

Have you heard? Our favorite filmmaking family of 8 just announced a film festival for children and we couldn’t be more excited! Our love of Gabrielle Blair and her beautiful family runs deep. From her amazing new Design Mom book to her delightful short film series, Olive Us, featuring all of her gorgeous six (yes, six!) children, she inspires all of our children to get up and “move or make or do,” so we’re quite obviously big fans. And now the Blair family is launching another fabulous creative endeavour called 1st Film Festival, a celebration of films made by,...

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Add some spring to your spring with 4 cool new albums for kids you’ll want to add to your playlists

Put a little spring in your step with some great new tunes for the kids that will get your toes tapping too. With new albums from some of our long-time favorites, as well as some artists that our kids will recognize from TV, there’s a great variety of new music, as evidenced in the four new releases we’ve featured here. Trees, the delightful new collaborative release by Molly Ledford of Lunch Money and versatile kindie musician Billy Kelly, is the musical equivalent of a ramble through the woods where every path leads somewhere fun.  Starting with the title song, Trees,...

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DreamWorks’ Home movie review: That time an alien and a girl took a worldwide roadtrip

Before slipping on my pair of 3-D glasses at a recent press screening of the new Home movie, I realized it had been a while since I’d seen an animated feature in a theater. I’m sure that will change drastically as my three-year-old son gets a bit older and can get through more than a 30-minute chunk of Cars from our sofa. So I had two questions in mind as Home‘s opening sequence began: Will I enjoy this PG-rated film as a grown up? And is this something my son would like? The short answer to both questions is yes, but with the caveat that...

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