Remembering the Songs of My Childhood

This post is in partnership with Nick Jr.

Some of my earliest memories are of my darling mother singing to me while wrapped in the security of her arms. The sweet nursery rhyme “Los Pollitos” always reminds me of the feeling of being cocooned in her love. Now that she’s gone back to her country in South America (perhaps as a snowbird, or perhaps long-term) – it’s crucial for me to look for avenues to celebrate and keep her culture and influence present in the lives of my own kiddos – especially when our communication is via a phone or a screen.

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It’s been such a joy to explore Canticos’ bilingual nursery rhymes through Nick Jr. on YouTube and on the (free!) Nick Jr. App. When I spotted an image of three delightful little chicks on the Canticos’ app, I just knew that it had to be “Los Pollitos”! I love how Canticos first presents nursery rhymes in Spanish (with the lyrics displayed at the bottom of the screen) and then in English too. Would you believe this was the first time that I heard the English version of this special song from my childhood? It is so beyond beautiful (and fun!) to get to share it all with my children. A few of our other Canticos’ current favorites are “Estrellita”, “Elefantitos” and “Sol Solecito”.

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I can’t tell you how excited it makes me to see Nickelodeon’s commitment to providing, culturally relevant, engaging and educational content in a bilingual format – especially during Hispanic Heritage month. Canticos delightfully pairs classic nursery rhymes from all over the Spanish-speaking world with adorable animal characters to create educational music videos. The team behind Canticos is dedicated to telling authentic stories pulled directly from their own personal experiences growing up with these songs and characters. As a mom, Canticos lets me access tangible ties to my past through memories treasured in songs to share with my children. And I love how their mission is to ignite and advance creative thinking in kids everywhere through storytelling and the power of play. Canticos is also a fantastic way for all kids to learn and practice simple vocabulary words, numbers, days of the week, and more – both in English and Spanish.

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Sing With Us! Vamos A Cantar! And put a little song in your heart by watching Canticos’ bilingual classic nursery rhymes with your little ones! View my favorite episode below:

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A Family Trip to Broadway

Whether you’re visiting the heart of the big apple, or playing tourist in your magnificent city; taking in a Broadway show is a quintessential New York experience that the entire family is bound to remember, vividly. Past the bootleg characters lining Times Square and larger-than-life dazzling lights, my eight and six-year-old we’re thrilled this past Sunday to take a subway ride down to the iconic Lyric Theatre on West 42nd Street, to experience Cirque du Soleil’s PARAMOUR.

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What sounded like an interesting combination of theater plus acrobatics turned out to be an incredible experience for the entire family. With an alluring old Hollywood feel, stunning set design, powerful vocalists and intriguing characters, PARAMOUR wowed us all.  The captivating acrobatics woven throughout the production definitely elevated our Broadway experience. We left talking about the performers’ mind blowing-strengths and talents, especially that of identical twin artists, Andrew and Kevin Atherton, who magically made time stand still with unbelievable ariel-amazement.

Director: Philippe DecoufleArtistic Guide: Jean-Francois BouchardAssociate Creative Director: Pascale HenrotAssociate Creative Director and Scene Director: West HylerComposer: Bob & BillSet Designer: Jean RabasseChoreographer: Daphne MaugerCostumeAt one point during the performance, my six-year old’s legs started bouncing – a telltale sign of needing a restroom (quickly!).  As I was planning how we’d manage to high-tale it from our seats without disturbing theatergoers, I sighed and told him that I’d get him to a bathroom. To which he responded, “No mommy, I just can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Thank you to Cirque du Soleil PARAMOUR for hosting us.

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Pokemon Go: Tips On How To Play

Pokemon has officially made a major comeback!  And if you’re ready-technology and outdoor living fans – now’s the time to hook up your cell phone or tablet with the hottest new app that’s hit the world in an overnight sensation – the Pokemon Go app. Have you seen the hoards of people getting outdoors, soaking in the sunlight and going bananas on their own Pokemon Go adventure?  Call your friends, or invite extended family to play – everyone seems to be firing up about #PokemonGo – available for free download on IOS and Android.

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Customize Your Character

Ready to play? Just download the Pokemon Go app from Niantic and create your character. You can customize their look including face, hair, eyes, clothes, shoes, and hat. You can even have your character rock purple hair.  Once you’ve created your Pokemon Trainer character and screen name, you’ll speak to the Professor and choose one of three starter Pokemon: Bulbasaur (grass type), Charmander (fire type), or Squirtle (water type).

Find a Secret Starter Pokemon

Many people don’t realize this tip, but if you aren’t interested the three starter choices- there is a super cool 4th option! Pikachu! That’s right! To get Pikachu as your starter Pokemon follow these instructions. First, when the three starter Pokemon area round you on the map, walk away from them outside of the circular radius towards the outer edges of the map. This will cause the three starters to despawn. Walk back to the center of the map and they will appear next to you again. Walk away from them so that they despawn a total of 3 times. Make sure not to accidentally click on any of them in the process!  Once you walk to the center a 4th time, you will see Pikachu appear next to you – go ahead and choose Pikachu as your special starting Pokemon! Click on him and you are on your way to Pokemon adventuring!

Time To Adventure

Ready to travel anywhere and everywhere in search of wild Pokemon?  Using your map, you can walk, bike, or drive along different areas of your neighborhood and even visit popular local attractions to discover rare and interesting Pokemon for your Pokedex. (If you choose to drive, please be safe and assign a driver who will NOT play while driving!).  A tiny Pokemon icon will appear beside you once the “Nearby Pokemon” screen in the bottom right of the app shows zero footprints next to it. The fewer footprint symbols next to a Pokemon in that screen, the closer it is to you. Your job is to feel your device buzz or see the Pokemon appear in time for you to quickly click on it and engage in battle.

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Now you will use your pokeballs to aim and swipe them towards the Pokemon’s head to catch each one you meet. Holding your finger on the pokeball for a few seconds will cause you to see a circular target ring around the Pokemon. That target ring shrinks as you hold it, so you can aim at the Pokemon to catch it.  Each color of the ring represents the difficulty level of catching that particular Pokemon. If the ring is green then it’s easy, yellow is medium, and red is difficult.

Inclement Weather

Have fun connecting with nature as you get outdoors and go for a hike, explore the beach, or check out a flower garden or field as you enjoy this fun Pokemon Go app. You can find Pokemon literally everywhere both inside and outside – even at your local library! During times of inclement weather, you don’t have to be disappointed about not getting to venture outdoors to continue playing the app. You can find Pokemon hiding right inside your own home.  Imagine a Kakuna in your bathtub, or a Pidgey in your washing machine?

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Poke Stops and Gyms

Check out the mall to find Poke Stops or Gyms inside or nearby and grab free rare items like potions, revives, eggs, berries, and even much needed pokeballs.  Once you reach level 5 or higher, you will be able to visit the gym and choose which team you wish to be on – Team Instinct, Team Valor, or Team Mystic. You can see Poke Stops or Gyms on the map feature when it shows a blue 3D icon (Poke Stop) or a tower (Gym).  The Poke Stops are like discovering treasure,  They morph into a circular icon with a color image and name of a non-profit or landmark inside once you get within range. Spin the circle image to make the free items pop out. They will float inside little bubbles which you then need to quickly pop to claim your free items.

Taking Snapshots

Go ahead and join in the picture taking while you can capture and engaged in battle with a Pokemon. Use the camera icon that shows up in the lower right side of the app during a battle and have fun getting friends and family to pose in the shots right alongside those Pokemon too.  Make a game of it and challenge your friends to see who can come up with the most creative shots.

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Have fun joining in on the Pokemon craze and do chime in with your favorite tips in the comments below!

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