Kid's Halloween Costume Ideas with Cardboard

pizza in a cardboard box

With Halloween coming up many people are looking for creative ideas for costumes for their children. They want something unique, interesting, and something that will not cost them a lot of money. There are a number of homemade Halloween costumes that can be made out of cardboard. Read on for some ideas...

Fitness Ideas for Kids Who Hate Team Sports

children on bikes

Many parents understand the importance of kids fitness, but plenty of them are in a difficult position when it comes to making sure that their children get enough exercise. When it comes to kids who are athletic and who love sports, this sort of thing is easy. There are plenty of youth leagues around, and most parents should be able to find ways for their children to participate in the sports of their choice. But if that is not your child, read on for some ideas…

7 Back to School Snacks and Activities

organic apples and peanut butter

For some parents, it's the best time of the year. You get to send your kids back to school, which ultimately can be a much more affordable way of living for you (but sometimes stressful for your kids). Kids can cost a fortune in the summer. If you work a lot and don't have anyone to watch them, that means putting money out towards day care or a series of summer camps. Even when you are home from work, the kids will demand entertainment. Summer demands day trips, beach trips, trips to amusement parks, etc. During the school year, parents may find that they spend a significantly less amount of money. School has either started or will start very soon for your kids, which means it's time to shop for school supplies and healthy snacks. Do you pack lunch for your kids? If you do, continue reading for some ideas for healthy and creative snacks to feature in their lunch...

Tales Untold Are Stories Not Just for Kids, Not Just for Bedtime

Tales Untold Are Free Audio Books for Kids to Enjoy at Bedtime…or Anytime!

Those of us of a certain generation may be old enough to have owned a record player as a child. I did. My prized albums were various children's stories, like Walt Disney's Mickey and the Beanstalk or Tale Spinners for Children's The Ugly Duckling and The Pied Piper. These were the ones that came with a story book in which you turned the page when you heard the chime. The best part was hearing how well the professional voice actors told the story along with my imagination and a sound effect or two. It felt like an adventure every time I listened, which I did over and over again.

Fun and Exciting Audiobooks

Fun and exciting audiobooks for kids were probably widely available when cassette tapes and CDs came along too, but by that time, so had Gameboys and other digital entertainment, so maybe they lost some of their magic. Tales Untold, the namesake app from Tales Untold Media, is a new digital experience that aims to bring back that magic from childhood, and introduce it to your children.

Seasons of Stories

Tales Untold is a free mobile app featuring original, episodic stories for children—and maybe even parents too. The app itself provides access to a number of stories ("tales") that are broken up into short episodes of about 10 minutes each, though some are shorter and some are longer. The first episode of each tale is free. tales-untold-storiesMore are provided via in-app purchase, either by the episode, or by the season. Purchasing the season gets you all the episodes—about 10 each. And the library is growing. Tales Untold Media will continue to add new seasons for existing tales, as well as brand new tales on a regular basis.

Adventure, Mystery, Real Life

The tales that are currently available are: Radbert, A Little About a Lot, Inspector 9, Trunk Show, and Trouble with Wishes. They're about adventure, mystery, and even real life. Inspector 9 takes the listener on a bedknobs-and-broomsticks-ish adventure with the titular Inspector and a magical bunk bed that transports the passenger to places only imagined. The story engages your child through riddles and puzzles, along with funny reactions from the Inspector. For example, one particular piece of a puzzle was "the opposite of standing, rhymes with wit." The Professor's bumbling responses—"Lying down? Napping??"—were entertaining while pulling kids in with the right answer. There are also sillier moments, such as discussing names for a pet iguana, including "Little Booger." Yep, that would get a response from my kids.

A Little About a Lot

Sure, Tales Untold is targeted for younger kids, but that doesn't mean that parents can't enjoy them too. My favorite series was A Little About a Lot. Each episode in A Little About a Lot is a self-contained dive into a fascinating area of non-fiction about the world, helping you answer all the whys and hows your curious child wants to know. For example, you can learn about Lewis & Clark, Amelia Earhart, or how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Yes, everybody knows that it spins a cocoon (or, more technically, a chrysalis, as Tales Untold teaches) and in a few weeks a butterfly comes out, but what actually happens inside the chrysalis during the metamorphosis? The episode tells you all about it. I won't spoil it for you, but I will tell you that I will never think of "soup" in quite the same way again.

Outstanding Voice Acting and Sound

A Little About a Lot teaches subjects like history and science—yes, what some kids might call dull or boring—but it's neither dull nor boring. The narrator is eminently listenable, varying his pitch, tone, and cadence appropriately. He pays special attention to advanced concepts, and finds ways to relate them to kids' experiences so that they can understand and relate to them better. For example, the Wolves episode compares and contrasts wolves (which kids have hopefully never seen up close) to dogs, which are probably very familiar: eyes are yellow, instead of blue or brown, heads and paws are bigger, and they both howl. In Let's Talk, the episode about how people communicate, sound effects play for the various older technologies like Morse code and rotary telephones, providing a way for kids to relate to them.

For Your Ears Only

The production values of Tales Untold are obviously high, tales-untold-iphone6-250from the charming cover art, to the professionally voiced narration, to the sound effects. All of these help draw the child into the world of Tales Untold. All in all, Tales Untold is almost entirely an aural experience. That's not a bad thing—imagination is a powerful tool, and video can be a crutch, but for those looking for something to watch will be disappointed. Also, there are no words to follow the story along with. Tales Untold is for listening pleasure only, though Tales Untold Media does provide a free coloring book on their website that you can print. Kids may enjoy coloring the characters while listening, thereby engaging in tactile and aural stimulation at the same time.
The last thing I'll tell you about Tales Untold is the last thing you hear in each episode: the jingle. It's so catchy with its acoustic guitar and whimsical lyrics. It's only a few seconds long, but if you're like me, you'll find yourself singing it at dinnertime. And then maybe you'll want another helping of Tales Untold.

Tales Untold is available for iOS (iPad and iPhone). You can download it from iTunes and the Apple App Store. An Android version is in the works. (This review is based on the iPad version, though the experience should be very much the same on any compatible device.)




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