Friday, October 26, 2012

iPieces Game Review: Air Hockey and Game of Goose

If you're a parent of young kids, you probably have more than a couple board games. And I bet those board games have cards and pieces that get lost and roam all around the house. I find play money and game pieces that are in various stages of decay all over the place. Stewart has fallen down the stairs after stepping on a chess piece! So when I got the opportunity to review some iPad games from Pressman Toys with the boys, I jumped on it! iPieces are games that you can play on iPads with game pieces made from special patent-pending conductive plastic. The age range is 4+ and all games are multi player.

The first game the boys reviewed on was iPieces Air Hockey. You turn your iPad into an on-the-go air hockey table! When the buzzer sounds, you move your iPieces striker, go for the animated puck, and try to score a goal in your opponent’s net. Each player can represent a country of their choice to compete in a variety of fun and exciting tournaments.  The game includes two iPieces air hockey strikers and free downloadable app for iPad. This was really exciting for the boys because they always want to play the game when we go to the bowling alley. But who wants to pay $2 each time to play? Not this mom. Now I can tell them they have it on their iPad so they can play it at home! R's favorite part of the game is the randomly floating +2, which gives you an extra point if you make the goal.  

Another game that the boys love and have already destroyed is a certain sweet confection game that leads you to the end of a rainbow path. I find the cards for this game everywhere and I was definitely ready try a similar game without the cards and gingerbread men pieces in random corners of the house. To play the iPieces Game of Goose you choose a goose-shaped iPiece, tap the virtual die to “roll,” and move around the interactive game board.  You can see how the real goose iPieces unlock fantastic visual and sound animations, as virtual geese fly across the game board or get stuck in a well.  The game includes six goose iPieces and free downloadable app for iPad. R loves to play this game by himself, so he can finally get a turn at winning. H has issues with letting anyone else win and R strangely lets H win most of the time. Brotherly love?

These are definitely games we will be playing during our cross-country flight this Thanksgiving. If you want more information, Pressman Toys has uploaded videos to Youtube for iPieces Air Hockey and iPieces Game of Goose. Let's play!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I received product samples to facilitate my review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

All year long I talk to my boys about the poor kids. I know in this day and age, calling someone "poor" is practically an insult. But there was no other way that I could readily reference children less fortunate than H&R than by saying "poor kids" when I started talking about it with them a few years ago, when R was 2 1/2. I want them to grow up knowing that they are lucky and they are blessed and with such blessing comes the responsibility to share. We save things for the poor kids whenever we have a party or event and there are little toys that can go into the boxes. I challenge them to give things they don't need to children who would appreciate finding those items inside their boxes. What are these boxes?

There is an organization called Samaritan's Purse that ships shoeboxes filled with toys and gifts for Christmas presents for children around the world who desperately need them. I've been doing it with my church for the past ten years, but it has become more meaningful in the past few years when I have been filling shoeboxes with H&R. I have them watch the video with me so they can understand that these children really have nothing. Many of them live in garbage dumps. The year the Haitian earthquake happened, I showed them the video of the kids living in the rubble. They remember the kids who live on the rocks.

If you would like to do something this holiday season that could become a miracle, please consider participating in Operation Christmas Child. You can change the life of one child in a foreign country that otherwise would not have school supplies to go to school that year (it's amazing how valuable a single pencil can be). Your message of hope might save that child from entering a life of crime or prostitution. There are so many stories of young children who were so touched by the fact that someone across the world cares--that it has made all the difference in how they live their lives.

You might wonder why I'm talking about Christmas when it's not even past Halloween. Well, in order for these shoeboxes to get to the children by Christmas, they are collected November 12-19 (find locations here). Which gives you a month to put some boxes together! My boys already know that all of their Halloween candy is going into the shoeboxes. I've heard of some moms who just throw it all out the day after Halloween. If this is you and you live close to me, please let me know and I will pick up that candy and anything else from you to donate to OCC. If you don't live local to me, there is definitely a location close to you where you can donate items, even if you don't want to put together a box yourself.

These are some other items you could put into a box:

If you are a busy ER doctor who can't find the time to pack your own box (you know who you are), you can sponsor someone else's box here. Share in the joy of Operation Christmas Child. From packing your own box, to spreading the word of how others can get involved, discover the many ways you can help change a child's life with this incredible program. Find out more at