Another game to avoid (if you don’t want to have fun)

20151126_190418There are a staple of games out there that most people will end up buying for their kids, such as Candy Land, Monopoly and so on. The reality is that while these games are fun, there are much better games out there. I went out to try to find those games. The website 538 has a list of alternative games. One of the games listed was “Loopin’ Louie”. It is a game that was released in the 90’s and looking at amazon is still available but very expensive. So I didn’t end up buying it because of that. However a couple of months later I happened to run across: Loopin’ Chewie.

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Loopin’ Chewie is the exact same premise as Loopin’ Louie, there is a little plane that goes around in a cicle and you use your level to knock him up in the air with the intent to knock out the opponents coins. If they lose all three they lose the game. There are ways to make the game harder, this is done by flipping the end of the lever forward and decreasing the size of the lever. But the real challenge is being gentle with the game so you don’t knock your own coins out.

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It is a very engaging game that is a challenge for adults and kids because of this it is game that can be played by all ages. The kids dig it cause its funny to knock Chewie up into the air and adults will find it a challenge  because of the finesse involved with knocking him up in the air. In playing the game I have discovered that I can really get into this game and the same with my kids. They practice all different kind of maneuvers to knock the coins out. The game is fast paced and challenging and we will keep on playing. The biggest thing that makes this game unique is that even if you are knocked out as a third player you can keep on playing by attempting to knock out the other players.

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If you want a game that is highly engaging and fun for all ages this is another game that you can get and will very much enjoy. I highly recommend it.

This is the way the cookie crumbles

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My son was recently at the hospital and while he was there he was given the game Cookie Crumble. The game comes in a little tin and is one of those games you see off to the side in the gaming section of most major retail stores. At first glance one is led to think that the game is a card game much like the infamous UNO or memory. But it is a very nice breath of fresh air. The game is very simple, everyone is given a recipe card for a cookie. Then the ingredient cards are spread face down on the table and the objective is to complete your recipe first.

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You start by saying,”Ready, Set, Bake!” Every one just starts drawing a card until the recipe is complete. It goes very fast, until someone draws a rotten egg. Once that is drawn the player puts all their ingredient cards back into pile. The other players just go on as normal. It’s a surprisingly fast paced game but there is a certain strategy to it. Also as I play it more I can definitely see other strategy developing. Such as throwing the rotten egg card or ingredients that they don’t need, near you opponent.

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So far I have played it a handful of times and have enjoyed it a lot. The game is easy enough for my 4 year old to play and it is definitely challenging enough for an adult. The pace is very rapid and keeps the kids attention. It’s a combination of some skill and luck and the game is easy to learn so basically any one can jump in and play. I would definitely recommend this game for any one.

Lunar Baboon

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A rather funny parenting cartoon strip is named Lunar  Baboon. It is about a father of two kids and his interaction with his kids. Its a great comic strip because it deals with a normal dad who loves just playing with his kids and gets great satisfaction out playing with them. He is a young dad and most fathers can definitely relate to being that dad, the one where you pretend to play Star Wars or other fantasies with your kids. Give it a shot, I guarantee you’ll spend the next hour reading it.

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues – Guest Post

This is an excellent article from the Washington Post by Valerie Straus is about the decline in play can lead to all kinds of sensory issues. What they mean by that is that children are not allowed to play “normally”. Why this has happened is because kids are very much controlled by their parents (and school) to do play dates, controlled activities, educational activities and so on. It makes it tough for kids to allow their natural senses to take over and govern their actions. This leads to kids getting emotional quickly and not being able to pay attention for long periods of time.

It is very unfortunate that this is the case. Why this is happening more and more is not entirely clear according to the article. Although they do seem to point at parents being very controlling of kids. It does lead one to say that kids should just be allowed to play by themselves and develop their own instincts. This is very important in the long term development of kids. It is what I do with mine. They do have structure to their day, but I give them a lot of time to just play outside and also be in their room and just be bored. (apparently this is good for kids too)

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/01/the-decline-of-play-in-preschoolers-and-the-rise-in-sensory-issues/

The above image is used with Creative Common License: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Kids_playing_pog.jpeg

Why I am protecting myself and my baby from screen time: Guest post

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This article is written by my sister. Its about not allowing your kids to watch tv or have a minimum amount of screen time. It also does a good break down of alternatives to letting your kids watch tv. Such as playing games and reading books. I personally have enjoyed the article. However being the father of four kids, there definitely is a time and place for letting your kids watch tv. Especially if it is to save your own sanity.

I could go into a lot of detail about why I think tv is okay but that is a subject for another article at another time.

The above image is used with creative common license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kradlum/8391718885/

Libertarian site of the week: Tom Woods.com

Front logo of the Tom Woods show
Front logo of the Tom Woods show

Tom Woods may not have been the individual that got me into being a libertarian but he has greatly expanded my knowledge of libertarian principles. He runs a daily podcast where he discusses various issues of libertarianism ranging from the Fed, Austrian Economics, First principles and so on. While some of the topics are deep there are a lot of very interesting and topical  issues that are definitely worth learning/knowing about. He has also written a number of books on the recent recession, libertarianism and economics. If you are looking for deep insightful thoughts and discussions on current events, liberty and economics look no further.

Four great kids shows and two annoying ones

The beauty of netflix and hulu is that it is much easier to watch decent tv shows and I can also monitor what it is they watch. There is a lot of brain rot on tv but there is also a lot of great tv that I am more then happy to let them watch. Here are a couple of shows that I have really enjoyed watching with them and a couple that are annoying

Bob the Builder.

BTB is a great tv show. It is all about a man that has a working crew. His crew consists of Wendy a female construction worker and an assortment of various alive construction vehicles such as a loader, a dumper Street paper and so on. The episodes for the most part are pretty formulaic, but fun to watch because they deal with people working together, obstacles they run into and having fun together. Furthermore the show is in in British English, thereby kids who watch it end up using the term lori and various other english terms which can be rather amusing.

Daniels tiger neighborhood.

Daniels tiger neighborhood is a show which is based on Mr. Rogers neighborhood which was a show that was featured in the 80s and the 90s. Daniel’s neighborhood is very similar to the show it follows. Daniel walk inside and puts on his sweater and talks about things that are going on. It’s a bit of an update to the show as it moves faster and it is a cartoon. It teaches kids about other cultures, animals and so on. I like the show because it could go to being a rather cheesy show and get annoying but it walks a fine line between being engaging and not getting annoying.

Sesame street

Obviously Sesame Street had to make the list. I mean honestly who has not watched the show? It is a great show and the content manages to stay fresh even being on the air for forever. They also have changed from having Bert and Ernie and Big Bird as the main characters to having Elmo, Abby Gadabbie and so on as the new main characters. Which helps keep the show fresh. They also know that parents watch this show and they bring celebrities on the show and parody other tv shows such as Glee, NCIS and so on to introduce a letter or concept. Its definitely worth watching even as a parent.

Wild Kratts.

My youngest son loves animals and anything nature and if your child loves that stuff too then this is the show for. The show is about 2 brothers, the Kratts, who are nature scientists and they start each episodes off by talking about the animal of the day. Once this concludes they are then turned into cartoon characters and end up using the power of that animal to fight the bad guys. What makes this show pretty impressive is that they use a lot of complicated terms such Crysalis, pupa and so on. Trust me when I say your jaw will drop when your kid busts out one of those terms when talking about an animal.

Dinotrux.

Having been a fan of Transformers this show appealed to me and my kids. The episodes are about a t-rex and his buddies. They live in the desert and deal with various issues such as sand storms, bad dinosaurs, drought and so on. What makes the series good is that it focuses on team work and friendship. All the different little dinosaurs add a piece to the puzzle of getting things done. There is also an over arching story going on which is surprising for a kids show. Oyeah and there are 5 minute long episodes if you want to treat your kids.

The annoying….

Doc Mcstuffins.

I am not saying I dislike this show. I do like it. However the songs are very catchy, infact so fatchy that they will be stuck in your head all day long. Now having said that the show is very positive, it shows a little who imitates her mom who who is a doctor. She goes of and fixes and heals her toys. Also her parents are married and have a good marriage. It’s a show that conveys a lot of messages and I recommend it heartily (one episode at the time).

and then the really annoying

CAILOU

Cailou is a Canadian kids show about a little boy. It is absolutely atrocious to watch. Here is why. The little kid is annoying and has a very annoying voice. He whines about everything. In fact after I let my son watch it a couple of times he started talking and whining like Cailou. I thought it might have been a fluke, but my other son started doing it too and when I googled it this was a trend. In fact there has a been an online petition launched to have this show taken of the air because of how whiny it is. Good call other parents. Please avoid this show like the plague.

Don’t you just love sharing the magic of Star Wars with your kids?

20151103_204018We all remember that moment, the moment when those big yellow letters come streaming across the screen and the trumpets come blaring in. I think most of us can name very moment we heard it. 30 years later the magic of Star Wars has not died and continues to live on. This is why I am so excited. In December there is a new Star Wars movie coming out and what makes me even more excited is that I get to share this with my kids. The lights dim and the screen turns black and then the magic begins!

20151103_204008For me, I remember the first time I watched Star Wars, I think I was about 6 and my dad was watching tv down stairs. I came and joined him and he was watching Star Wars A New Hope. I had no idea what exactly what it was but it left an impression on me. I made games about it, I told stories about it and so on. It wasn’t until years later when I was about 11 that I watched it again and again and again. I couldn’t get enough.

20151103_203727So here I am almost 30 years later and I get to share the joy of Star Wars with my kids. I cannot wait to hear the intro and the the big yellow letters scrolling across the screen and seeing their reactions to the screaming lasers, the ominous dark jedi and the wonderful heroes saving the day. Then after the theatre we can talk about it and maybe, just maybe watch the other 6 movies. Its going to be awesome!

Rescue Bots gets a doggie and two new Bots, Awesome!

My kids love Rescue Bots. They watch the episodes over and over. So now with the new season they will be introducing two new Rescue Bots, Blurr and Salvage and this Cybertronian Dog, Servo. I am sure my kids are going to flip when they see these new characters.

Image attribution:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7747793@N08/1776369325″>LOLtimus Prime</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

“Kids these days” are they really that bad?

madworld

In the last couple of months there have been a lot of videos of police violence. Recently there was a video of a teenager being thrown out of her chair by a police officer. Now, I am not here to discuss police violence or what happened in this instance but instead the comments that are being thrown out about this situation. One of the ones I keep seeing is,” We are raising a generation of kids that defies authority and wont show proper respect.” This is a very extreme statement that I wonder if it bears any kind of merit?

First off, I have four children and I tend to think that I am raising them in a good manner. They are generally polite and respectful of adults. Now due to the fact that I have kids I am around other children and most of the ones I have met have been quite pleasant and friendly. In fact most of have been more then respectful and are very obedient. This may be anecdotal but I have met a lot of kids since my oldest was born 7 year ago, I have also lived in a variety of different neighborhoods ranging from moderate to low income with a diverse group of people in each one. This makes me wonder where is the disrespect or the questioning of authority?

Maybe, I am missing the point of these comments and maybe there really is a break down of society or are we throwing the baby out with the bath water?