Getting Ready for School

I know, I know, it’s only July. But you have probably noticed that stores are already rolling out their “Back to School” collections. Clothes, backpacks, and school supplies are all making their way to shelves. So, how can you help your little ones get ready for their return to school this fall?

For your preschooler, consider sending them to their first day with personalized Yo Gabba Gabba! backpack and rainbow art set.

For an elementary school-aged child, consider a Sid the Science Kid lunch box or pencil case.

A middle school-aged boy may appreciate some new Ben 10 clothing for his first day back to school. A middle school-aged girl would love a Mr Men Little Miss outfit for her first day.

But, don’t forget yourself when shopping for Back to School supplies! Every mom can use another tote bag for all the things you will have to pick up after your children.

Remember, summer may seem like it’s just begun, but school is just around the corner! Start shopping now to get the best deals on the things your kids will really want.

A New Disney Princess?

This summer, the folks at Disney’s Pixar studios introduced a new film set to rival all the Disney princess movies that have come before: Brave. Set in Tenth Century Scotland, the movie Brave stars the spirited Merida who defies her parents’ wishes for her marriage by placing a spell on her mother. The spell causes all sorts of upheaval in her father’s kingdom and she has to set things right.

What makes Merida, this new princess, so special? Well, not since Mulan have we seen such a strong, adventurous female heroine. In fact, Merida is Pixar’s very first female protagonist. For many viewers, this will be a breath of fresh air. Another difference between Brave and the other Disney princess movies is the story’s centrality of her relationship with her mother. In most of the Disney movies, mothers are either absent (as in the movie Beauty and the Beast) or one of the antagonists (as in Cinderella).

In the movie Brave, we see the internal battle that Merida fights between her own desires and how they affect her family. Pride vs. duty. In the end, Merida and her family reach a compromise. And her relationship with her mother survives the harrowing adventure.

Brave is receiving good reviews and promises to set itself up as the next favorite for young Disney and Pixar fans across the country. Merida has already made her appearance at Disney World and Disney has begun producing Brave merchandise. It will be interesting to see how Pixar’s new star compares to their other fan favorites like Cars and Toy Story (Check out some Cars and Toy Story merchandise here and here.)!



Meet the New Wiggles!

Can you believe that The Wiggles have been singing and dancing for 21 years? Well, according to an announcement on The Wigglesofficial website, three of the four Wiggles are ready to retire. Jeff, Murray, and Greg—also known as the Purple, Red, and Yellow Wiggles—will be handing over their jobs to a new generation!

So, meet the new Wiggles! 

All three of the new faces on The Wiggles have been around the show, supporting the main cast in various ways. Emma, the new Yellow Wiggle has been a part of the show for two years and has performed as Fairy Larissa and Dorothy the Dinosaur, among other characters. She is only 22 years-old, but is very talented and very excited to hop on board as a member of The Wiggles.

The new Purple Wiggle, Laughlan, has been touring with The Wiggles’ live show for a while. He’s 26 years-old and has a history on stage in both Australia (where The Wiggles is based) and in the USA.

Simon, the new Red Wiggle, has appeared as a voice artist on a few of The Wiggles CDs and has experience in musical theater. At 40 years-old, he’s the oldest of the new crew, but is excited to use his big voice to entertain as a Wiggle!

The new generation of The Wiggles—together with Anthony, the Blue Wiggle—are preparing for their appearance in 2013, after the current group finishes a huge world tour. I’m sure fans, worldwide, will be sad to see the “old” Wiggles move on, but it will
be exciting to see what’s in store!

Let PBS Teach Your Students Something New

Last week, PBS announced a new, exciting partnership between their PBS LearningMedia division and multimedia experts at Annenberg Learner.

Many teachers and parents may already be familiar with PBS LearningMedia, which is a free resource to educators. Its educational media pieces feature characters from many favorite television shows, books, and movies like Arthur, Sid the Science Kid, and Curious George, as well as various celebrities and professionals from regular PBS programming. The media aids teach everything from preschool science to college-prep art history and are used by parents, caregivers, and teachers worldwide.

PBS’s new partner—Annenberg Learner—is a division of the Annenberg Foundation and offers professional teaching media across various disciplines. They are a trusted resource in the academic community and their interactive media is a welcome addition to the PBS world! According to the official press release, at least 75 high-quality media pieces from Annenberg Learner will be added to the PBS LearningMedia library soon, with potentially more to follow.

You can visit both the PBS and Annenberg Learner websites to see examples of these high-quality videos. Many of Annenberg’s resources can be ordered through their website and, thanks to this new partnership, some are now available free online!

(For an idea of what’s available from PBS LearningMedia, check out this video clip where Sid the Science Kid learns how rolie polies move.)

Planning a Wiggles Birthday Party!

Are you looking for a fun idea for your child’s next birthday party? Does your child love music? Dancing? Singing? Then consider inviting The Wiggles! Now, most families don’t have the budget to pay for a live concert at their child’s party. But you can have just as much fun with a little creative planning.

First, choose some of your child’s favorite The Wiggles songs. You can design your party’s games and activities around the music! The DVD “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” might be a good option. You can let the DVD play during the party and use the songs to keep the party moving.

For food, kids don’t expect too much, so keep it simple. One of the most popular The Wiggles songs is “Hot Potato,” so maybe you can use that song for some clues and have a potato item, a banana item, and spaghetti! Then, for the cake, you can stick to The Wiggles colors—yellow, blue, red, and purple. That should be easy enough! For party favors, you can send the guests home with a Dorothy the Dinosaur Dry Erase Door Hanger.

If you’re searching for a birthday gift for your Wiggles-loving child, consider a Henry the Octopus plush toy or a personalized The Wiggles totebag. You can also surprise him or her with a The Wiggles toy caddy or Dorothy canvas bookshelf! I’m sure they would love any of the wonderful The Wiggles gifts and toys available.

No matter how you design your child’s next party, inviting The Wiggles is a sure-fire way to make it fun for everyone! Singing and dancing makes everything better, doesn’t it?