Build, Play, Code: Check out This Cool Robotic Learning Toy for Kids

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Thank you UBTECH for sponsoring this post. JIMU Robots are a fun way to bring robotics into kid’s day to day and make the perfect gift you can feel good about gifting to the children in your lives this holiday season!

On weekend mornings, immediately after school, and every time in-between – my kids, ages 8, and almost 11(I can’t believe it!) gravitate towards their play-table to build something, zoom it across the hardwood floors, or figure out how it works.

I’m certain that every age (and stage of play) continues to be my favorite.

We first spotted JIMU Robots in an iconic NYC store. My kids fell for the Cosmos Kit hard – and I found JIMU’s three-step system of building, coding, and playing (in alignment with STEM learning) really intriguing.

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We decided to unbox the kids’ new Astrobot during a special family night-in, deciding on first creating Astron – an alien friend with cool LED eyes and speaker capabilities.

The free JIMU App provides easy-to-follow, piece-by-piece instructions – in a super cool 3D, 360°, animated format. So you can actually zoom in and rotate if needed to ensure that you’re following the directions exactly. Designed for ages 8+, my kids had no problem building their interactive robot on their own – but their parents clearly wanted in on the fun!

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As soon as Astron came to life, my kids lit up. Their feeling of accomplishment was palpable as they played with their hand-built robotic friend – packed with totally cool moves and endless amounts of coding and play alongside the free app.

Astron’s hip-hop moves continue to be a big hit – as well as coding unique movement patterns. The kids plan on building their own robotic creation this weekend as well as Rover and AstroBot. They’re currently plotting ways to code a robot to transport their clothes to the hamper!

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JIMU is hands down the coolest learning toy we’ve had in our home, enhancing and reinforcing both of my kids’ interest in coding. If you’re looking for an incredible learning toy this holiday, JIMU Robots is the perfect gift for all kids in the 8+ age range. Check ‘em out at Target!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Introducing Luciana Vega: American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year + Giveaway!

 

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Introducing Luciana Vega – American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year!  This adorable 11-year-old character is of Chilean descent, and she is set to inspire and encourage – with dreams of being an astronaut and the first person to set foot on Mars.

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Luciana is a champion of STEM, a role-model, and a leader – working passionately towards her dreams, while defying stereotypes and embracing risks  – to teach girls about failure, resilience, and success while charting their own life course.  She also comes with really cool, creative accessories (sold separately) including a Flight Suit, Space Suit, Mars Habitat, Maker Station, Telescope Projector Set and more.

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American Girl collaborated with an advisory board including a NASA chief scientist and astronaut to create Luciana’s story along with details that went into the doll’s creation. Her story, chronicled by Erin Teagan highlights the ways in which Luciana’s hard work and award-winning essay submission on planetary geology earn her a scholarship to attend Space Camp.


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Luciana is also a fun and spunky 11-year-old!  She loves adding her own personal flair to everything – from the sparkly stickers on her flight suit to the rainbow LED lights on her robot.  My ten-year-old is pretty obsessed with the purple streak in Luciana’s hair and her funky little doll boots and fanny-pack that opens to hold little items. She also devoured her book in one day and told me all about Luciana’s best friend and the baby girl that her family adopts. She can’t wait to move on to Luciana’s second book: Braving the Deep.

Win it! We’re so excited that our friends at American Girl are celebrating Luciana’s arrival by giving away a doll to one lucky reader!

Update: Giveaway closed.

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WowWee Fingerlings: Don’t Fall For The Knockoffs

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As the hottest toy of the season, WowWee Fingerlings continue to fly off the (recently restocked) toystore shelves, hundreds of counterfeits have popped up in social media ads, websites and even stores. If you’re still scrambling to pick up one of these adorable interactive monkey toys for your kid, we only want an authentic one to come your way. Look for these telltale signs of counterfeit vs. authentic Fingerlings toys and don’t fall for knockoffs!

  • Packaging names like (Happy Monkey, Glitter Monkey, Baby Monkey, Fun Monkey, Finger Monkey, etc.)
  • Typos on packing and ages that are off. I saw one that said age +46 (even I’m not old enough to play with that one!).
  • Details that are off, including plastic hair.
  • Low-quality packaging.
  • Don’t purchase from non-authorized third-party resellers and online marketplaces.
  • Make sure the brand name is WowWee.
  • Shop at authorized Fingerlings distributors, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Gamestop and Toys ‘R Us.
  • Some counterfeit sellers are even using WowWee stock photos and then shipping fake products. Again look at the source and shop from authorized retailers.

WowWee filed a federal lawsuit against hundreds of sellers of counterfeit Fingerlings and a temporary restraining order is freezing seller’s assets and storefronts. Make sure to carefully check where you are spending your hard earned money, and sharing your payment information. Stay in touch with the latest on these adorable toys on WowWee’s official Fingerlings website.  We hope you are able to find one in a store near you too!

 

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Your Kids Will Want These Hot Holiday Toys from Best Buy

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This post is sponsored by Best Buy. 

Although so much has changed since I was a kid waiting for Christmastime, my children constantly remind me of the many special things that remain the same.  Baking, decorating, giving to others – and carefully studying the coveted holiday toy catalog the day that it arrives in the mail.

I once thought that Best Buy was geared towards my own dream wish list (hello camera + tech products!) until my kiddos found everything they could possibly set their hearts on – for themselves, their cousins, the foster-families that we shop for and more. Best Buy has become the perfect place to find the hottest holiday toys while purchasing tech products for adults in the family too.

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From classic toys to tech toys, to learning toys and beyond – Best Buy has an amazing selection of toys that will leave every kiddo excited. Want to know what my kids circled first? WowWee Fingerlings Monkeys! I keep hearing about these cuties flying off the shelves everywhere! Best of all their, $14.99 sweet-spot price makes them a toy that we can pick up for all the littles on our lists. They are also dreaming of some sort of gaming system and have their collective hopes set on a Nintendo- Switch.

Check out some of our other favorites:

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Anika Cozmo: This cool robot comes with a personality that evolves via interaction! He’s even able to recognize his owner with facial recognition. Your kiddo will have a blast challenging him to games, and using Code Lab to learn the basics of coding.  Grab this for kids ages 8+.

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Spin Master Hatchimal Surprise: How fun are these cute Hatchimal Surprise toys?  Kids will adore hatching their own little pet and will be in for a surprise when they hatch twins! Get these for kiddos ages 5+

 

 

Hasbro DROPMIX Music Gaming System: Teens will have a blast blending their favorite pop songs! Delight tens with this cool toy for ages 16+.

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FAO Plush Anniversary Bear: You can’t go wrong with classic toys and we adore the nostalgic feel of Best Buy’s selection of toys from FAO Schwarz. This Plush Anniversary Bear is suitable for all ages and super cuddly and cute too.

 

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Aloha, Nanea Mitchell: American Girl’s new Hawaiian Doll + Giveaway

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Introducing, Nanea Mitchell, American Girl’s new BeForever character! This darling doll is a 9-year-old Hawaiian girl who adores her close-knit family, dancing the traditional hula, fishing alongside her father and playing wither her dog, Mele.  She lives on the Island of Oahu – and her story explores the life of islanders in 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S’s entry into World War Two.


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Her story helps American Girl fans contextualize a significant period in history where one girl can make a meaningful difference.  It also highlights the ways in which courage, patriotism and the aloha spirit synonymous with the Hawaiian people inspired a war-torn nation.

As a former resident of Hawaii – Nanea is a new favorite for me! And as a parent, I appreciate the lessons woven in the Hawaiin teaching of “kokua” – doing good and selflessly giving – which Nanea personifies.

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American Girl fans will get to experience an all-new face mold in this adorable 18-inch doll – and a bunch of authentic-to-the-era accessories including a Hula Outift, Hula Implements and Nanea’s Family Market with 90 pieces that include a wood stove and more.

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In support of Nanea’s inspiring mission, American Girl will be collecting donations for the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and will match every dollar donation made in store and at amerciangirl.com in the U.S. (up to a maximum of $75,000).  In addition, the brand is giving away $575,000 worth of its signature 18-inch dolls to the American Red Cross to children living in times of crisis. We adore this mission, Nanea’s story, and American Girl’s steadfast commitment to giving back.

Win it!

American Girl is spreading the aloha with a Nanea Mitchell doll and book giveaway for one lucky winner! Enter to win via the below widget (U.S. only) and check back to see if your name pops up as the winner. Best of luck and thanks for visiting!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friendship Bracelets are Back + Giveaway!

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Do your kiddos love crafting like mine do?  It’s exciting to see a project through from start to finish – and as a DIY-er myself, it’s cool to see my kids appreciation for the handmade. When WowWee sent us their Digloom ahead of their August 4th release, my creative tween was instantly hooked – so much so that we had to share here.  Friendship bracelets are back my friends and making them is more fun than ever!

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This app-controlled interactive digital loom allows the user to design their own cool patterns or select pre-made designs to weave into bracelets, headbands, anklets, bookmarks and more.

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The Digiloom is in no way one of those press a button and the machine does everything for you toys. My nine-year old is engaged in every step of the process – as she’s the one doing the manual weaving through the app’s pre-set thread pattern.

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The Digiloom comes with enough supplies to make eight items, and we’re already ready to grab more kits. Hopefully, my girl will make one for her mama too!

Find it exclusively at Michaels stores, tomorrow, August 4th.

Win It! Our friends at WowWee are sending a Digiloom to one lucky MB reader! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post.  For another entry, visit our Facebook fan page and leave a comment on the corresponding post.  Our randomly selected winner will be announced on Facebook on Sunday evening, August 6th.

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