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Best Xbox One Games For Kids In 2019

 Are your kids into Xbox One? Then maybe you are looking for games suitable for young players. Here is the selection of the best Xbox One games for kids in 2019.

Top Five Best Xbox One Games For Kids In 2019

Top Five Best Xbox One Games For Kids In 2019

If your child loves your new Xbox One, don't you hurry to ban them from playing. There is a massive choice of best Xbox One games, which are suitable for young children. These games will help your child to delve into an exciting fantasy world and wind down. 

  1. Spyro Trilogy

All kids love dragons. Especially those which breathe fire and burn things. So, the Spyro Trilogy will be a perfect adventure for your child. This bright and fun game will let your child explore realms, solve puzzles and test their skills at completing various missions. Don't forget to install a parental control app to manage screen time of your kiddo.

  1. Sonic Mania Plus

Classics never die. That’s why your child will enjoy playing Sonic Mania Plus. The Plus version of remembered Sonic Mania includes additional characters and modes as well as secrets and hidden paths that your child will need to uncover. This blue hedgehog won’t leave your little one disappointed!

  1. Unravel Two

Another beautiful game the younger gamers can play is Unravel Two. Small creatures made of yarn and called Yarnys are going on a quest to find a magical spark, lost by two people. During their journey, they help other adorable Yarnys with their tough challenges. Your child may control both little creatures or invite a friend to play for another Yarny.

  1. Stardew Valley

The Stardew Valley is an old farm with overgrown fields and abandoned household. Will your child be able to restore it? The game covers 30 characters living in a community and five different areas, where your kid will practice their farming skills and discover the benefits of slow life in the valley. Your offspring can also invite friends to play and explore the mysterious place together.

  1. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2

Co-written with brilliant comic book author Kurt Busiek, this game will capture your kid's attention. With their favorite Superheroes and their powers, your child will have to fight infamous Villains and surpass challenges. Eighteen amazing different locations will provide an unforgettable gaming experience for small Marvel fans.

Top Five Best Xbox One Games For Kids In 2019

 

 

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Safety Tips For Parents With Gaming Kids

Gaming has certainly evolved over the last decade.  Kids don’t use their consoles solely for gaming anymore.  An extensive interconnected network of millions of gamers is available for playing any time of the day or night.  

You can talk, text, send emails, send pictures, watch streaming movies/television, play games, and more from the access granted through one gaming console.  This means that parents have a heightened sense of danger, and must pay closer attention to what their kids are doing.  

Make use of the parental controls

Get to know your child’s preferred console.  All modern gaming consoles come equipped with the option of parental controls.  

Dig into the specific options you have for your child’s platform, and set them to your liking.  Here is where you can place a password on purchases from the online game stores, and keep your kids from blowing money without permission. 

Stay interested in what your kid is doing on their console

You can’t maintain full control of your child’s gaming until you really know what it’s all about.  Educate yourself on the various gaming platforms available, and understand what each machine is capable of doing.  

Stay interested in your child’s gaming likes and dislikes.  It’s helpful to be able to connect with your kids on this level, especially if gaming is something they really enjoy.  

Set time boundaries for your gaming kids

You should never just let your kids play video games for twelve hours straight.  It’s not good for their body, and it’s definitely not good for their eyes.  

You can experience vision loss from extensive exposure to screen time.  Use the parental control settings and your own verbal reinforcement to limit your kid’s screen time.  Consider their age and maturity while calculating just how long they can play each day/week.  

Have a conversation about cyberbullying

Your first instinct is likely to teach your kids what to do if someone is bullying them, but it’s important to remember that your kid may be the bully.  Teach them that it’s bad form to verbally abuse their competitors, no matter the setting.  

Gamers can be pretty unforgiving, so keep an open line of communication when it comes to your child’s gaming connections.  Some kids may not be responsible enough to use a headset.  Others are mature enough to be trusted.  Gauge your child before granting them free access.  

Maintain control over game choices 

Play a game before ever allowing your child to play it.  This is the best way to monitor the content your kids are really being exposed to during gameplay.  Use your judgment after playing to decide whether or not your child is mature enough to play the game in question.  




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Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales first aired on Disney XD in the summer of 2015.  With its recent DVD release, everyone can now enjoy the retelling of the Star Wars saga from C-3PO and R2-D2’s perspective.  The overarching story is that R2-D2 has been kidnapped and while chasing after his captor C-3PO recalls and shares his adventures with different audience groups during some downtime.  This 115-minute DVD is broken down into five episodes and here’s a quick summary of each one:

Exit from Endor – The victorious rebels are celebrating and Luke Skywalker sees the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Mace Windu.  At the campfire,C-3PO recalls the story of Anakin’s childhood and run in with Qui-Gon Jinn and Queen Amidala.  Extra comedy is added into the retelling of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones including several severe injuries of Jar-Jar Binks and Darth Maul’s overuse of the word awesome.

Crisis on Coruscant – While still tracking down R2-D2’s whereabouts, C-3PO shares his version of what happened in Revenge of the Sith.  General Grievous and Count Dooku “kidnap” the emperor in order to lure Anakin to join the dark side.  Darth Vader makes his appearance in this episode.  On a lighter note, Yoda’s line, “Oh heck what the” cracked us all up.

Mission to Mos Eisley – C-3PO heads to Tatooine to track down R2-D2.  He reminisces about A New Hope where he and R2-D2 are sold to Luke Skywalker after all of the other robots scavenged by the Jawas mysteriously break during their inspection.  Luke Skywalker begins his Jedi training with Obi-Wan and Yoda and later destroys the Death Star.  At the end of this episode, C-3PO reunites with Chewbacca and continues his quest of rescuing R2-D2 from his mysterious captor.

Flight of the Falcon – C-3PO retells the events from The Empire Strikes Back to Chewbacca and Nien Nunb as they head to the old Battle Droid Factory.   The rebels faced the wrath of Darth Vader after destroying the Death Star.  Luke trains with Yoda in Dagobah and hilarity ensues.  Han Solo got a little terse with C-3PO by telling him to shut his protocol hole.  By the end of this episode, R2-D2’s captor is revealed and both robots are in danger of being recycled into battle droids.

Gambit on Geonosis – While C-3PO and R2-D2 are stalling for time, C-3PO shares the events in Return of the Jedi with the interested Stormtroopers.  Han Solo is freed from his carbonite prison and the rebels have to deal with Jabba the Hutt.  While Luke is portrayed with two different colored hands, the details are not revealed in this series.  In the end, R2-D2, General Ackbar, and the Ewoks save the day and provide a happy ending.  

My kids enjoyed this series and I recommend it for any Lego and Star Wars fans out there.  While it’s not as funny as the other Lego Star Wars DVDs, it’s still worth checking out.  The DVD sells for less than $13 on Amazon.


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Unofficial Minecraft Lab for Kids

Thank you Quartous for sending us this book to review!

Like many kids, my children enjoy building all sorts of things in Minecraft.  It’s a great outlet to encourage creativity and to interact and work with each other to create enormous structures.  If your family is new to Minecraft, the Unofficial Minecraft Lab for Kids book will go through the basics and will provide guides on building projects both inside and outside of the game.

My son learned how to make a TNT cannon and both him and my daughter also made flags and banners inside the game.  I like how the home projects correlate with the in-game ones.  To accompany these labs, my kids also learned how to make a marshmallow launcher and a Creeper face banner.   To go along with setting up a target practice inside of the game, my kids learned how to make a bow and arrow using wet popsicle sticks, dental floss, and Q-tips.  (I kept finding Q-tips throughout my house for a few days afterward.)

Minecraft is about survival and that entails foraging for food to eat.  One of the final labs gives a recipe and instructions for making mushroom stew to enjoy outside of the game.  If your kids are like mine and not a fan of mushrooms, they may prefer the cookie lab found earlier in the book instead.    Some other labs include making a simple circuit with an LED and a watch battery, or a Chinese finger trap to go alongside the in-game zombie trap.

There are lots of great ideas and fun projects to enjoy together as a family.  This book was a hit over spring break when the weather wasn’t nice enough to play outside.  The book will retail for less than $24 on Amazon when it comes out in June 2016.


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My Little Pony Friends Across Equestria

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Glimmer Girls: A Dolphin Wish

Thank you Zonderkids for sending us this book to review!

This book is the second book in the Glimmer Girls series, and in it Maddie, Mia, and Lulu are swept away to San Diego for another one of their mom’s concerts. You will also find out the dad’s name - Jack.  To relax the family goes to Captain Swashbuckler’s Adventure Park, an amusement park with an ocean theme. On their first day there, the Glimmers visit the dolphins. On her way back from the bathroom, Mia overhears a conversation that revolves around the topic of illegal animal releases!

The mystery begins when the family is seeing seals and Lulu finds a slip of paper - a possible clue!  The girls think people might get suspicious if they talked about the criminal as a criminal, so they agreed on the code name Dr. Dolittle.  The girls needed to get the feeding schedule of the animals, for it was crucial to the solving of this mystery. Lulu’s slip of paper just happened to be the feeding schedule. 

When they were visiting the  seals, Lulu found a boy with a sketchbook. She asked what he was drawing, and the boy acted all secretive. He could be a possible suspect! The girls were also doing a treasure hunt throughout the park. Mia had one clue the others didn’t – the golden key. She told them about it on the last day as they were preparing to leave the park. The rest of the story you’ll have to read the book to find out.

The drawings in this book are in the same style as in the last one- cartoony and monochrome. They are typically at the beginning of chapters, and sometimes at exciting parts in this 208 page book. It was a really good story and I highly recommend it. 

Buy it on Amazon
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Glimmer Girls: London Art Chase

Thank you Zonderkids for sending us this book to review!

Glimmer Girls: London Art Chase is written by Natalie Grant who many know as a four-time Grammy nominated singer.  She is now using her creative talents toward writing books that pre-teen girls will like.  As an 11-year old, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In London Art Chase, twins Maddie, Mia, and their little sister Lulu are going to London for their mom's concert tour. They have a nanny named Miss Julia who takes are of them while their parents are gone. Their mom is named Gloria Glimmer, and she is a famous Christian pop star.

While their family is packing to go to London for Gloria's concert tour, the sisters decide to hold a fashion show, as many young girls enjoy playing dress up.   Once packed, the family heads to the airport and flies off to London.  Unfortunately, Lulu's suitcase with her toys didn't make it there.  While Lulu hoped to investigate the matter, they were re-united with it after a few days.   Later in the book the whole family will embark on a case regarding a stolen painting.

In London the family gets to stay in a really nice hotel and visit the National Gallery during their free time.  They also got to visit Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London, where they were awestruck by the jewels that belonged to many princes and princesses over the centuries. On their trip the family also learned that their great-great-great-great-great grandfather founded the London police force and was knighted as a result.  Besides learning about their lineage, the girls also learned a thing or two about  solving mysteries. I won't spoil them, so you'll have to read the book to find out more!

I enjoyed this 205 page book so much I finished it in a day! It is kid-safe with no foul language and a few references to God and the Bible. It has some black and white illustrations as well. Most of them are at the beginning of the chapter, but there are some that are at exciting parts in the story. I would highly recommend this book and it sells for less than $8 on Amazon. 


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Buyus Colored Pencils

Buyus Colored Drawing Sketching Pencils
Developed by: BuyusDirect
Price: $12.95
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Highlights:

Strong Points: Very durable pencils; sturdy container; hex-shape makes them less likely to roll
Weak Points: Faint colors unless you press hard

Thank you, BuyusDirect, for sending us a set of these pencils to review!

We were approached at Christ Centered Gamer to review a set of colored pencils from a company called BuyusDirect – not normally a product we cover, but we don't mind being experimental. It's good to branch out now and then!

The pencils came quickly from Amazon, and contain 36 pencils in a wide variety of shades. The container is a sturdy cylinder, made of yellow-covered cardboard and topped with a durable plastic cap. The writing on most of the container appears to be Chinese, and what little English that is on the container makes little sense. There is a picture of some sort of bear wearing sunglasses in the middle – presumably the "Mr. Cuya" that appears below the picture. Around the portrait of the bear is the odd phrase "CUYA STORY – They love each other and happy every day." Underneath the title of "Mr. Cuya" is another peculiar phrase, "Cool is a kind of life is also a kind of attitude." 

case

Despite the odd use of "Engrish" on the package, the pencils within are of fine quality. Each pencil is six-sided, which means they are less prone to roll off the table than your typical colored pencil. The colored lead within each is durable, and not prone to snapping or crumbling over heavy use. My daughters have enjoyed using them quite a bit, and I've even used them to try and sketch out a quiet, nature scene (which also told me that my drawing skills are sorely out of practice). The colors aren't terribly bold, though, unless you press hard. Fortunately, the lead is durable enough to withstand this kind of pressure. Unfortunately, when my wife tried to use them, it led to her having cramped fingers after just a few minutes of coloring.  

 Another thing that we found odd was the price. The Buyus pencils have a list price of $49.99, but we've seen them on sale for around $12. However, when you compare them to Faber-Castells – one of the premium names in artistic pencils – you can get a set of 48 pencils, and an eraser, for $30.79, also from Amazon. Another thing to consider – Faber-Castells often have the name of the color stamped on the side, while the Mr. Cuya pencils don't. It's a minor point, though – the hue of the paint on the outside of the pencil is going to be the hue you get when you touch it to paper. 

Buyus coloring pencils

All in all, these pencils have a very good quality, but require a bit of effort to really make the colors stand out. They can be a good deal if purchased on sale, but at their full price, you may be better off looking to one of its competitors.


(Amazon Affilate Link)

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Teach Your Kids to Code

cover

Thank you No Starch Press for sending us this book to review!

Teach Your Kids to Code is a book designed for parents and kids to work together and learn the Python programming language.  The author, Dr. Bryson Payne has been teaching computer science to students of all ages from kindergarten to college age pupils at the University of North Georgia.  There are ten chapters that will cover the basics of installing Python, pygame, and learning about graphics, variables, loops, conditions, animations and accepting user input.

Most of the heavy lifting is done by the Python libraries turtle and pygame.  With turtle kids can learn to make programs that generate spirals and other neat shapes in various colors. After launching a turtle program or two you’ll quickly realize how it got its name as even an i7 desktop takes a few minutes to render the final product.

The coding itself is pretty straight forward and the book does an excellent job explaining what each function does and pieces it together bit by bit and combines it into a final program at the end.  One important factor that my daughter and I both learned is that spacing/indenting is critical in Python.  If a function is not properly indented, the program will simply not run and there will be no error code to assist you in the debugging process.  Typos are relatively easy to catch with the syntax errors, but indentation, not so much.  Fortunately, the source code and required media files are readily available on the book’s website.

The only other stumbling block we came across was installing the pygame library in Windows.  We installed the latest version of Python in its 64-bit format.  This worked fine until we needed to install the pygame library as the book’s obsolete version did not work.  We were able to get it working by using a custom compiled version.

Despite those hiccups, my daughter and I learned a lot by going through this book together.  While the typing was her least favorite part of the process, she was very excited to see and share the programs that she made.  Her favorite programs include a text based Yahtzee, War, and a graphical Pong game that uses a smiley face as the ball.  Teach Your kids to Code is an excellent learning tool for people of all ages that can be purchased digitally for less than $15 or in paperback for under twenty dollars on Amazon.


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My Little Pony Equetsria Girls Combo DVD Pack

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

We have previously reviewed My Little Pony Rainbow Rocks and Equestria Girls and my kids thoroughly enjoyed those movies.  Surprisingly, my son enjoyed them all as well. Along with those two movies, Friendship Games is included in a 3 movie combo pack that will list for less than $25.  This is quite a bargain for My Little Pony fans.

Since this is our first time watching Friendship Games here’s our review of it: 

Rainbow Dash sent out an emergency text gathering all of the members in the band in fear of Canterlot High School being in danger.  As it turns out, it was a false alarm since Rainbow Dash only needed a replacement guitar string.  Instead of heading home right away Sunset Shimmer hangs around the portal for a little bit and catches a mysterious figure scanning the statue/portal.  Could it be someone from Crystal Prep Academy pranking their school for the upcoming Friendship Games competition?  Canterlot High School has never won a competition against Crystal Prep so their morale is pretty low until Rainbow Dash rallies everyone up with a stellar performance.  Could magic be involved in her performance?  Sunset Shimmer has been tasked to get to the bottom of it to avoid their school from being disqualified for magic use.  Twilight Sparkle is also looking into this phenomenon.  

The Twilight Sparkle in this show doesn’t know anyone in Canterlot High School since she is a Crystal Prep student.  However, they all know who she is and don’t know why she doesn’t recognize them and suddenly wears glasses.  They also discover that she has the ability to steal magic.  Will the Friendship Games go on without a hitch?  Watch to find out because I’m not going to spoil it for you!

Like most My Little Pony shows, the power of friendship overcomes any misdeeds.  I like how they emphasize forgiveness and promote kindness to one another.  I highly recommend this show for kids of all ages.  While the target audience is girls, many boys enjoy this show as well.  My son included.


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Dear Sofia: A Royal Collection

Thank you Disney for Sending us this DVD to review!

Dear Sofia: A Royal Collection DVD features six episodes with wonderful life lessons and special appearances from popular Disney princesses to aide Sofia in times of trouble.  This 114-minute DVD is available on Amazon for less than $13 and is well worth it for any princess loving girls out there.  

Here’s a breakdown of the six episodes on this disc:

  • The Amulet and the Anthem – Sofia is randomly picked to sing the Enchancia Anthem and the privileges that go with it get to her head.    Her friends that were hoping to get picked get tired of her bragging and leave Sofia to her duties.  The only problem is that Sofia suddenly becomes cursed to randomly ribbit!  She discovers that this curse is from her special amulet.  Despite apologizing to her friends, the curse is not lifted.  Admirably, Sofia does not disobey her father to give the amulet to Cedric to undo the curse.  Instead, Belle comes to the rescue and helps Sofia and her friends feel better.  
  • Princesses to the Rescue – Princes James and Jin stumble upon a treasure map of the Jade Jaguar.  They set off to locate the treasure doubting the existence of the Jade Jaguar.  When the kings find out, they set off immediately to stop the young boys.  Unfortunately, they all get caught in the same trap together.  With the advice of the mage, the princesses set out to rescue them by taking a side entrance into the jaguar’s cave.  The path is perilous and all but Sofia want to give up.  Mulan shows up and encourages them to keep going and to think outside of the box to solve many obstacles in their way.
  • Winter’s Gift – Sofia made a wand holder for Cedric, but after hearing him complain about the useless gifts he had received in the past she doesn’t deem her gift worthy and sets off to find another.  On her journey with her rabbit, Clover, they meet a fawn named Winter who is cursed.  Whatever or whomever Winter touches, becomes frozen in enchanted ice.  In order to undo this curse, Winter must appease the mountain witch with a nice gift.  After failing at offering a gift, princess Tiana appears and teaches them that gifts from the heart are worth more than any material thing.
  • Two to Tangu – The princesses are heading to a party and risk taking a magic carpet instead of their royal carriage.  Unfortunately, they get lost on the way and end up in the town’s marketplace instead.  A fortune teller there gives them directions but the two princesses still manage to get stranded because their magic carpet has yet to be tamed.  Jasmine appears and teaches them how to tame their carpet and the princesses discover that some risks are worth taking.
  • Minimus is Missing – Princess Amber is struggling to learn how to ride a flying horse and is on the verge of giving up.  After a lunch break they discover that all of the flying horses have gone missing!  While searching for their horses, Amber learns how to fly a gryphon and learns that sometimes it takes a few tries to learn something, but it’s always worthwhile in the end.
  • Cool Hand Fluke (bonus episode) - Sofia visits and offers to throw a party for the merpeople.  However, Fluke is jealous of Sofia  and tries to one up her and her friends.  In an attempt to get a pearl, he winds up stuck in a giant clam.  When Sofia and Flip rescue him, he is ungrateful and doesn't care that Flip was injured during the process.    Upon learning that mantacorns shed their horns once a year, Fluke gets the (bad) idea to take an old horn to replace Flip's broken one.  Again, Fluke gets trapped and upon rescuing him, everyone learns that jealousy is bad and that asking is always better than taking.


I like how each episode teaches one or more valuable lessons.  Better yet, they're not overly preachy either.   As an added bonus, there is some stationary bundled with this DVD collection.  My daughters, despite getting older,  enjoyed the stationery as well as the episodes.


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Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles

Thank you Disney for sending us this DVD to review!

Almost everyone likes Star Wars and kids love Legos.  So mixing them together is a match made in heaven.  Add in everyone's favorite characters with their famous lines, a solid script, and it'll be 92 minutes well spent.   The humor in this series had both kids and adults cracking up.

Darth Vader had many funny moments with his voice getting messed up due to a short in his wiring.  His cape also got in his way often and choked him while flying his pod racer.  Another great moment was when he scolded a storm trooper for being clumsy and then tripped over him!  I dare say that these episodes are more entertaining than the original movies.

Here's a synopsis of the four episodes in this DVD:

  • Escape From The Jedi Temple - Luke and his friends are nearly captured by Darth Vader and after they escape, Yoda and Obi-Wan's ghost believe that further training with the help of the Holocrons is required.
  • Race For The Holocrons - Luke Skywalker needs to retrieve the Holocrons that Obi-Wan hid to complete his Jedi training.  Darth Vader is looking for them as well.  Who will get to them first?
  • Raid On Coruscant - With the Holocrons in their possession, the Sith empire can locate and root out the Rebel Alliance.  The Rebel Alliance must fight back to re-claim the Holocrons.
  • Clash Of The Skywalkers - After the Sith's defeat, the Sith set out on a mission to put an end to Luke Skywalker for once and for all.

My kids and I are now officially fans of this series and highly recommend checking it out on TV or in its DVD form.  The DVD sells for less than $13 on Amazon and is worth every penny.


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Mickey's Monster Musical

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

This 115 minute DVD features three problem solving and singing episodes that involve ghosts, pirates, and your favorite Disney characters. Included in the DVD is a trick or treat bag that is more of a novelty than useful given its small size.  Thankfully, my kids still enjoyed the DVD regardless. 

In the first episode Mickey has a surprise picnic planned for Minnie and hopes that she will say yes. She does and they start on their way. The weather starts out beautiful, but that soon changes.  Upon trying to turn around, their car breaks down and gets two flat tires.  A creepy castle is just up ahead; they or course they go there seeking help.  

Once inside, they meet the flying Count Mickula who is very helpful and offers to help fix their car while they stay at his castle. The only downside is that Count Mickula believes that his castle is haunted. In return for helping them fix their car, Minnie and Mickey offer to help explore the castle to confirm or deny that suspicion.  

Along the way Mickey and Minnie will gather various tools used to solve riddles throughout the show.  The kids are encouraged to deduce which tool will solve each dilemma presented to them.  There is also plenty of singing and dancing they're asked to participate in as well.  The songs and atmosphere reminds me of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with much cleaner lyrics and characters of course!  

In the second episode Mickey and his friends want to go to the beach to do some surfing.  They have fun surfing, building sand castles and playing volleyball until a sailor drops off a tuba for Goofy that was found at sea.  The tuba has a note from his grandfather talking about a treasure that will save his home.  Goofy's friend's and the pirate, Peg Leg Pete offer to assist in the treasure hunt.  They will have to work together quickly to retrieve the treasure before the island sinks into the sea.

The third episode takes place at the farm fair and the mouseketeers compete in various challenges to see which team is the most nimble.  I truly hope that younger kids don't imitate the egg and spoon race from this episode.

Other than a potential egg mess, I highly recommend this DVD for younger children that don't mind talking back to the television.  Though my kids didn't talk back to the TV, they did enjoy the show.   The DVD sells for less than $15 on Amazon and is worth it for Mickey Mouse Club fans.


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Miles From Tomorrowland - Let's Rocket!

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD!

Miles From Tomorrowland is a futuristic space themed animated series on Disney Junior.  It came out in February of 2015 and has some recurring characters with famous voice actors including Bill Nye, Alton Brown, Wil Wheaton, George Takei, and Mark Hamill.  The main character, Miles, is an enthusiastic and curious kid that often finds himself in and out of trouble.  His sister, Loretta, is the complete opposite and follows the rules and is the smarter of the two kids.  Their mother, Phoebe, is the spaceship's captain with their father, Leo, as the ship's engineer.  The parents work for Tomorrowland's Transit Authority and undertake many missions to keep outer space safe for all of its travelers.

The Let's Rocket DVD contains ten episodes including:

  • Runaway Shuttle -There's an out of control ice cream truck heading to one of Jupiter's smoldering moons, Io.  The Callistos have been summoned to assist their former schoolmate, Lucky, who is trapped in the ice cream vehicle.   

  • Surfing the Whirlpool - Miles wants to go surfing with his dad where he used to hang out as a younger surfer dude.  While the mother and daughter stay behind, they learn of a huge gamma ray burst heading straight for Miles and his dad.

  • Ocean in Motion - The Callistos have been summoned to figure out why a probe has received water damage.  The most unusual part of this mystery is the planet that the probe is on, doesn't have any water.  Or does it?

  • Explorer Exchange - Blodger Blopp visits the Callisto family as part of a Cosmic Explorers exchange program.  

  • Game On - While a new highway is being setup in an uncharted quadrant, the Callistos are sent to introduce themselves to the alien races in that sector to start an alliance.  They get captured as prisoners instead.

  • How I saved My Summer Vacation - The Callisto family is on vacation, but the vacant planet they visit is nothing like the pamphlets describe it.    

  • Who Stole The Stellosphere?  While Miles is left behind to clean his room, his family's spaceship is stolen.  Can Miles stall the thief to help his uncle and family reclaim their ship?

  • Rock N' Roll - Miles is finally big enough to use the Exoflex.  His whole family is certified to use it, and it adds pressure for Miles to learn how to use it quickly.  Unfortunately, he's not the natural he had hoped he would be.  Miles will have to overcome his doubts and save his family from a rock slide on the moon using the Exoflex.

  • The Goldilocks Zone - Miles gets reunited with a former skating buddy of his. As sweet at the reunion is, the situation could have been better since his friend's home planet was destroyed.

  • Hiccup In The Plan - The Callistos accept a mission to locate a missing beacon.  However, the mission would be a lot easier to accomplish if Merc, the robotic ostrich, didn't have ship shaking hiccups.


My kids enjoyed this two hour DVD and are new fans of the Miles From Tomorrowland series.  My son liked the bundled blastboard flashlight.    The DVD sells for a little over $12 on Amazon and is worth buying for any kid that likes outer space.


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Descendants

Thank you Disney for sending us this movie to review!

Unlike previous Disney movies, Descendants opens up with a story from a tablet instead of a book.  When Belle and Beast married they rounded up all of the villains and cast them away on an island with no Wifi and no escape.  That is until Belle and Beast's son, Ben, is crowned king of Auradon and gives the offspring of the most notorious villains a chance to live a normal life in his kingdom.  Their parents Evil Queen (Snow White), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Jafar (Aladdin), and Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmations) eagerly await their kids efforts to reclaim the fairy godmother's wand to undo the protection magic on the Isle of the Lost. 

Getting their hands on the wand is no easy task since it is locked down in a museum.  The misfits will have to make friends at the boarding school and become acquainted with the offspring of Dopey, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and the fairy godmother.  Sadly many of the friendships are one sided as the descendants are using their social engineering skills and magic to get what they want.  

They're not all bad once they step away from their parent's shadows though.  I like how this movie teaches about forgiveness and redemption.  Each of the descendants learns to accomplish things on their own and they become well aware of good and evil and its consequences.  Some of the treatment the descendants get is well deserved, but not all of it is.

Without spoiling the story I'll refrain from going into more detail.  I do however, highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys Disney's animated classics.  The characters are well developed and the songs (though obviously lip synched) and costumes are vibrant and well done.  I enjoyed the rap remake of Be Our Guest.   All three of my kids liked this film and  I'm sure other families will enjoy it as well.


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Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this Blu-Ray to review!

The Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection contains twelve short films that are bound to make you and your family laugh, cry, and stay on the edge of your seat.  Even though my family owns several Disney movies, we have only seen two of the short films beforehand.  The collection includes:

 

  • Frozen Fever - Elsa wants to make up for lost time and throw her sister a birthday party that she'll never forget.  The only problem is that Elsa isn't feeling that well.
  • Feast - A dog is enjoying the bachelor life style with his owner and all of the junk food that goes along with it.  Things change when the owner gets a health conscious girlfriend and hilarity ensues.  
  • Get a Horse - The classic black and white Disney characters get a 3D CGI-makeover in this silly short.
  • Paperman - A couple falls in love at first sight and suddenly get separated - can paper airplanes reunite them?
  • Tangled Ever After - Pascal and Maximus lose the rings for Rapunzel and  Flynn Rider's wedding.  They go through a lot of effort and humiliation to retrieve them.
  • The Ballad Of Nessie - The origin of Loch Ness is explained in this story about a dragon who was kicked out of her happy pond when a mini golf course took over the region.
  • Prep & Landing - Operation: Secret Santa - Christmas is just around the corner and Mrs. Claus needs the help of some tech savvy elves to put together a gift for Santa.
  • Tick Tock Tale - Clocks can live an exciting life too, especially when the owner of a clock shop leaves for the day.
  • How To Hook Up Your Home Theater - Goofy just wants to watch a football game on a good sized television in the comfort of his own home.  Little does he know how complicated setting up a home theater can be!
  • The Little Match Girl - In the dead of winter a poor girl is trying to sustain herself by selling matches.  Unfortunately nobody seems to be interested in buying them or helping her stay warm.  Perhaps her matches can comfort her?  
  • Lorenzo - A gluttonous cat enjoys eating in front of starving cats starting at him from his window.  As a tail-less cat walks by, Lorenzo makes fun of it.  He is then cursed with a tail that has a mind of its own that likes to dance the Tango.  
  • John Henry - Recently freed slaves are promised land for helping construct rail road tracks. The deadline is quickly looming and they may lose this opportunity.  The legendary John Henry with his super strength gives it his all to  help secure better lives for his family and friends. 

 

All of the shorts are entertaining and fun to watch for young and old alike.  Like many cartoons there is some silly violence and a couple of the shorts end with the death of the main character.  Fortunately, most of them are lighthearted.  The Blu-Ray/DVD combo sells for $20 on Amazon and is well worth the price if you don't own the shorts already on other Disney movies.


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Turbo FAST

Thank you DreamWorks for sending us screener episodes!

Turbo the movie came out in 2013 and my kids really liked it.  The Wii U videogame that followed was a dud though.  Fortunately, the animated series that premiered later that year does a lot of things right. Including the rap intro song!  

My kids enjoyed some of the episodes available in Netflix's new and exclusive season that includes thirteen shows.    The two episodes we watched were Home On Our Own and the Sting of Injustice.  In Home On Our Own, most of the snails are away for a seminar while Skidmark and White Shadow stay behind to catch up on their favorite show, Gossip Snail, on SnailFlix.  While they're binging, their place is getting broken in by a couple of crabs attempting to rob them.  Fortunately, their attempts are thwarted and the snails get to find out the identity of Gossip Snail in a humorous fashion.        

As funny as Home on Our Own was, we enjoyed The Sting of Injustice more.  In this episode a superhero hornet moves into town and recruits Turbo as his side kick.  At first their intentions were good as they got the price lowered for theater popcorn.  While the townspeople didn't mind cheaper popcorn, they did not enjoy getting ticketed for silly offenses like exceeding the speed limit at a race track. Turbo and his friends have to work together and find a way to get rid of an unwanted  and over-reacting super hero.  

Like many cartoon shows there is cartoon violence and the comic style text bubbles were hilarious. It goes from the typical "Wham" and "Pow" to "Stub"  and "Concussion".  The first episode did have one cuss word that was bleeped out.  Other than those issues my family enjoyed this series and I highly recommend it for any Netflix subscriber.

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Adventure Time Season 5

Thank you Cartoon Network for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Unlike previous seasons, the disc set for season five has twice the number of episodes in it. There are fifty-two action packed and wacky episodes in this collection.  There are shows about love, breaking up, getting married and becoming parents.  This season has it all!

Even though Jake and Rainicorn become parents in this season, they are not the ones getting married.  That honor goes to Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig and it's officiated by the king of Ooo.  Princess Bubblegum doesn't like this impostor king and nearly ruins the wedding trying to discredit him.  

Finn still has feelings for Princess Bubblegum and tries to woo her after his relationship with the Flame Princess goes cold.  Speaking of cold, the Ice King makes many appearances this season as he is living with Finn and Jake since they destroyed his ice castle in the previous season.  There are many flash backs regarding him and his attempts at raising Marceline and keeping his sanity while wielding the power of his crown.  True to his corrupted self, he still kidnaps princesses and tries to get them to marry him.  *spoiler alert* When those attempts fail, he marries his foot instead. /*spoiler alert*

In case you haven't noticed, these episodes are just as wacky as ever.  Sadly, in this season there some episodes that go against Christian values and teachings. In the episode “The Suitor” Peppermint Butler uses dark magic and summons a demon to take control of Cinnamon Bun.  Reincarnation is also introduced in the episode “The Vault” where Finn helps solve a mystery from his former life as a girl named Shoko.  The cartoon violence and potty humor from seasons past is still a given.

Christian parents may want to screen these episodes before letting their kids watch them.  If the moral issues are of no concern, the humor is just as wacky and this set is sure to crack many smiles and giggles.  The Blu-ray currently sells for $32 and the DVD bundle is less than $25.  Fans of the show will find plenty of value in owning these episodes.


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Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle

Thank you Universal Pictures for sending us this DVD to review!

Curious George is back and up to his usual unintended trouble making.  The story begins with George and Ted (the man in the yellow hat) flying a kite in a park.  For most people the worst case scenario is losing the kite to a tree, but for George it's a very expensive excursion with many food vendors  getting their carts knocked over and losing any chance of  turning  a profit.  The man in the yellow hat hands out yellow contact cards with his insurance information to those impacted by George's kite flying.  It makes me wonder what his insurance premiums are.  

Later George and his owner head back to the museum where Ted works and they are greeted by Mr. Houston.   There is an opening for an astronaut to go on a mission to alleviate the massive flooding in Africa.    George is eager to go, but the man in the yellow hat isn't sold on the idea right away.  Fortunately for George, he relents and lets him go on the mission.

Sadly, the mission doesn't go as planned and George gets lost in Africa.  Houston and his team estimate George's location within a 500 mile radius.  Not surprisingly, most of the movie revolves around locating George.   Even though George starts off alone, it's short lived as he befriends many unlikely wild animals.  

While this movie teaches the value of friendship, it has a very dangerous ending that involves flying a metal framed kite in the middle of a thunderstorm.  Other than that, I recommend this film for kids of all ages.  The music is catchy and arranged by Heitor Pereira.  Besides the movie, the sound track is worth looking into as well!


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Strange Magic

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

Strange Magic is a CGI animated musical that borrows from Shakepeare's "A Midsummer’s Night Dream" and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's "Beauty and the Beast." After seeing George Lucas's attempt at romance in Star Wars II Attack of the Clones, I wasn't expecting much.  I began watching this movie with three of my kids and one of them left half way through to read a book instead. Of the two that remained to the end, only one liked the movie.   My son wasn't a fan of it.  Then again, George Lucas was inspired by his daughters to make Strange Magic.

The movie begins with a fairy princess, Mary Ann, preparing for her wedding day.  Along the way of her collecting materials for her fiancé's boutonnière, she runs into her husband-to-be kissing another fairy.  Not surprisingly, the wedding was called off and her father, the king, wants Mary Anne  to make amends with her ex, Roland.   Instead Mary Anne vows to be independent and swears off love entirely.  

Mary Anne is not the only one uninterested in love.  In the nearby Dark Kingdom, the wretched insectiod King Bog has forbidden anyone to fall in love and use of love potions is forbidden.  To ensure that his ban remains in effect, he sealed away the sugar plum fairy who is the only one that can concoct love potions.  

Roland, still set on getting the crown and a powerful army, conspires with an elf to get a love potion.  The elf agrees to the plan because he loves Mary Ann's boy crazy sister, Dawn.  While they manage to get the potion, things don't go as planned.  I won't spoil any details but I think it's safe to say that the movie's plot is not very hard to predict.  In the end, everyone in the movie learns that love has to be true and not rushed.  

While I recognized many of the songs sung in this movie (I Gotta Feeling, Sugar Pie Huniebunch, Fools Rush In, Tell Him, Wild Thing, Love is Strange),  they didn't have much significance for my kids. The only song my kids knew was Lady Gaga's Lovegame being used as a marching song by Roland's army.  

My kids were obviously not into the music, but the animation was well done.  The story is predictable and unoriginal.  Since only one of my kids actually enjoyed the movie, I can't really recommend it.  If you see it on sale it may be worth considering though.


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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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