Toys R Us releases Monster 500 race car and playset collection


Monster 500

It's the season for all things freaky, gross, and scary. Just in time for Halloween, Toys 'R Us has released Monster 500, a line of monster-themed racing characters, vehicles and play sets that pair up two of my boys' favorite things: racing cars and monsters.  We had the opportunity to review some items in the collection, and they are just monstrously fun!

Kids can start their Monster 500 collection with the 3-inch diecast vehicles.  There are 10 Monster 500 Small Vehicles: a clown, vampire, alien, zombie, crocodile, chainsaw madman, werewolf, Frankenstein, Bigfoot, and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. The characters and their vehicles are wonderfully detailed, and they're just funny enough to keep them from being truly scary.  I love their funny racer names, like Dr. Jerkyll & Mr. Ride, Evil Clownevil, and Zoom Zombie!  Vehicles are available individually at Toys ‘R’ Us for $4.99 or in the 3-pack for $14.99.

Monster 500

Every car comes with a trading card that unlocks a monster car in the FREE Monster 500™ Racing App.
Monster 500


The collection also includes racing playsets to keep the monster theme going.  The Monster 500™ Toxic Terror Trap Playset (MSRP $34.99) lets kids send their monster racers up a battery powered elevator, then down a spiral racetrack and through a set of doors, in order to topple the toxic green monster -- but watch out for the mutant gator!

The playset includes the Evil Clownevil vehicle.  My kids had so much fun with this playset! It's easy to set up and fun to watch.  The toxic monster can be tricky to place in a vertical position, but once you get the hang of it, you won't have a problem.
Monster 500


The Graveyard Gauntlet Track Set (MSRP $19.99) is a two-lane race track that you can attach to a tabletop.  Press down on the spooky skull to send your race cars down the tracks and see who finishes first! A checkered flag will rise to indicate which lane won. The playset includes the Drac Attack vehicle. Car race playsets are always exciting, and this one is extra-fast because the racetrack starts high and goes all the way down to the floor!
Monster 500



Disclosure: I received a sample for review. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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The Piano Guys releases their 4th album, Wonders




cello
I've always regretted quitting piano lessons when I was younger, but at the time, I was fed up. I hated practicing because I wasn't inspired to play any of the pieces I was learning. I never heard any of the songs I loved played on the piano, or on any classical instrument, for that matter.

That's why I'm so grateful to The Piano Guys for inspiring my sons and helping them love music.  3Po discovered them a couple of years ago on YouTube, and their covers of popular songs made him want to play the cello.  He and Jammy were taking piano lessons at the time, and the Piano Guys' rendition of Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy inspired them to learn the piece on their own!

The Piano Guys are a group of four musical artists -- a pianist, a cellist, a songwriter, and a video producer -- that have taken YouTube by storm with their creative videos and their classical arrangements of pop music. Their videos are amazing.  My boys love watching the Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) video, where Steven Sharp Nelson wields a cello bow like a lightsaber.  My favorite video is Kung Fu Panda, where Jon Schmidt actually plays a grand piano on the Great Wall of China!  The scenery in all their videos are beautiful, but I love watching Jon and Steve's faces as they play.  Their love of music shines so clearly.  They sound even better than they look.  I could listen to their arrangements of Without  You, Titanium, Let It Go, The Cello Song, and Home, again and again. I adore the sound of the cello and piano together.  Their music lifts my soul.

I was over the moon when I was invited to review their latest CD, Wonders.  I've already bought a few of the songs on the album, but it was great to be able to listen to all of it! 3Po has been playing the cell

cello
Here's the Wonders track list.  My favorites are Don't You Worry Child, Home, Kung Fu Piano, and Let It Go, but every song is great. I can't wait for the day when 3Po (on cello) and Jammy (on piano) can play these pieces for me!

1. Ants Marching / Ode to Joy
2. Batman Evolution
3. Because of You
4. Don't You Worry Child (feat. Shweta Subram)
5. Fathers' Eyes
6. Home
7. Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends
8. Let It Go
9. The Mission / How Great Thou Art
10. Pictures at an Exhibition
11. Story of My Life
12. Summer Jam



About Wonders
New York, NY – What began as an experiment and then exploded into an Internet phenomenon has now evolved into an incredible success story. The Piano Guys, four talented dads from Utah, have climbed the Great Wall of China for their craft, landed atop Billboard charts, sold out tour dates around the world, accrued a massive social media following and scored YouTube viewership at 500 million views. Now on October 7, The Piano Guys will release their fourth studio album entitled Wonders (Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks).

Wonders, a nod to the “Wonders of the World,” at which they intend to film music videos, features successful single/video releases from the past year such as, “Let It Go,” “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends,” “Don’t You Worry Child,” and “Story of my Life.” It also includes new songs with strong familiarity – “Batman Evolution” (The Piano Guys’ take on various Batman themes over the years), a mash-up that incorporates melodies from Dave Matthews Band’s huge hit “Ants Marching / Beethoven Ode to Joy,” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” – as well as some original compositions by The Piano Guys. Their previous albums – The Piano Guys and The Piano Guys 2 – continue to claim the top positions on Billboard’s Classical and New Age album charts since their release.



Disclosure: I received a sample CD to review. Album info (in italics) was provided by Sony Music.  The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio review and giveaway


I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for NESCAFE Dolce Gusto, and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation


It's almost time for the holidays, which means it's time to get out the tablecloth and the fancy china!  We love celebrating with family and friends, and this year it's going to be even more fun, thanks to Mom Select and NESCAFE.  They sent us a NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Genio coffeemaker so we can brew all of our favorite coffeehouse drinks at home!  The Genio is a single-serve coffeemaker that uses individual beverage pods, so we can offer our guests their favorite beverages, just how they like it.  I absolutely LOVE the NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Genio, and I'm thrilled to be giving one away at the bottom of this post!

Here's what I love about NESCAFE Dolce Gusto:

Hi Tech

Owning a NESCAFE Dolce Gusto machine is like having your own personal barista.  It's a coffee house quality machine, made by DeLonghi, with a 15-bar pressure system that brings out the deep brewed flavor creates a wonderful froth.  You can enjoy a great beverage in under a minute!  It doesn't even take up a lot of space like many other machines: it's small and compact and slides right underneath the top cabinets in our kitchen.

Ease of Use

It's so simple, even my kids can make their own hot chocolate or iced tea. Just fill the tank with water, load a capsule into the machine, set the water level (the water level for each drink is clearly indicated on each capsule so you never have to remember!), and press the hot or cold button. The Dolce Gusto machine does the rest! It takes less than a minute to get the machine ready, and there's virtually no waiting time between cups. It's also so easy to clean -- just rinse the capsule slot and the drip tray.

Variety

NESCAFE Dolce Gusto has 19 different kinds of beverages, hot and cold!  Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate is only the start.  Right now we are enjoying Nestea Peach Iced Tea, Chai Tea Latte, Nesquik, Chococcino, and Decaf Grande.  We've also tried Caffe Lungo (decaf and regular), Caramel Latte Macchiato, and Decaf Espresso.  Everyone in the family has a favorite, and we can offer our guests a huge choice, so they can enjoy what they want.

Availability

Until this fall, NESCAFE Dolce Gusto pods were not as widely available as other brands.  I usually order mine online at Amazon.com or BedBathandBeyond.com (they're also available on Walmart.com and other coffee specialty websites).  If I just can't wait for them to be shipped, I would drive to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. However, things are much better now.  Dolce Gusto is also available at Sears and select Costco stores in California.  Even better, it's available at Target.com as well as select Target stores in California!  I'm so lucky I live in California!! For more updates on Dolce Gusto availability, follow Dolce Gusto on Twitter and Facebook.


Win a NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Genio

One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Genio coffeemaker!

Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your child's (or your) favorite soft, snuggly item.

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry you complete, with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, Facebook id, Pinterest id, etc..)

1) Follow bonggamom on Blogger (1 entry)

2) Follow bonggamom on Instagram (1 entry)

3) Follow bonggamom on Pinterest (1 entry)

4) Pin this giveaway on any of your Pinterest boards (1 entry)

5) Like Bonggamom Finds on Facebook and write this on my wall (1 entry):
I joined the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio giveaway on Bonggamom Finds!  Ends 10/28 http://ow.ly/ColxE #LiveWithGusto

6) Follow @bonggafinds on Twitter and tweet this once per day (1 entry per day):
Enter to win a Dolce Gusto Genio machine fr @DolceGustoUS! Ends 10/28 on @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/ColxE #MC #LiveWithGusto

7) Like my Dolce Gusto video on YouTube (1 entry)

8) Join any open giveaway on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you join).

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59 PST on October 28, 2014. I will draw a winner at random on October 29 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for NESCAFE Dolce Gusto, and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. Giveaway prize is provided by NESCAFE Dolce Gusto via Mom Central. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Bonggamom's Friday Finds: list your giveaways here


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Welcome to Bonggamom's Friday Finds! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter everyone else's, too!


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Sourcebooks Halloween book giveaway



Halloween

Hurrah, it's October, and my favorite holiday of the year is almost here!  I love Halloween, so I'm celebrating with a great giveaway courtesy of Sourcebooks.  One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive copies of three adorable Halloween picture books, just in time for Halloween. They're just perfect for a spooky holiday story time for moms and their little monsters!

Happy Halloween! By Lillian Jaine
It’s Halloween night, and Count von Count is dozing off in front of his fireplace. Suddenly, he hears someone knocking at his castle door, but when he opens the door, nobody’s there! Could it be a spooky Halloween spirit playing a trick on him, or is it something less sinister? Join Count, Elmo, and all of the Sesame friends as they celebrate Halloween!

A Halloween Scare by Eric James
It’s Halloween night, and creatures and critters from near and far are starting to gather outside the front door. And now here comes a whole army of monsters, on broomsticks, buses, and bikes, all clamoring in the darkness. What is it they want? Are they coming for you?
This humorous, creative story is the perfect Halloween adventure for children and parents to share.

Pumpkin Time! by Erzsi Deák
The day the cows strolled down Main Street in fancy hats...Evy didn't notice. What was Evy doing ? Evy is so focused on watching her garden grow that she misses all the silliness going on around her―pigs DANCING, donkeys FLYING, and sheep HAVING A PICNIC.


Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post telling me what you and/or your kids will be dressing up as this Halloween!

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry you complete, with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, Facebook id, Pinterest id, etc..)

1) Follow bonggamom on Blogger (1 entry)

2) Follow bonggamom on Instagram (1 entry)

3) Follow bonggamom on Pinterest (1 entry)

4) Pin this giveaway on any of your Pinterest boards (1 entry)

5) Like Bonggamom Finds on Facebook and write this on my wall (1 entry):
I joined the Sourcebook Halloween giveaway on Bonggamom Finds!  Ends 10/10

6) Follow @bonggafinds on Twitter and tweet this once per day (1 entry per day):
Enter to win 3 adorable kids' Halloween books on @bonggafinds! Giveaway ends 10/10

7) Join any open giveaway on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you join).

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59 PST on October 10, 2014. I will draw a winner at random on October 11 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.


Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. Giveaway prize provided by Sourcebooks. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Disney Frozen: The Songs CD review and giveaway


Disney's Frozen The Songs CD

It has been almost a year since the movie was released, but Disney's Frozen shows no signs of stopping! It's the fifth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing animated film, earning more than $1.27 billion globally. Every household with kids under age 10 has seen the movie, and I'm sure that the most popular Halloween costumes this year are going to involve Anna, Elsa, Sven, Olaf, and Kristoff.

Frozen's soundtrack is just as successful as the movie -- it's the top-selling album of 2014 and spent 33 consecutive weeks in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, including 13 consecutive weeks at No. 1. It is certified triple Platinum, selling more than 3.2 million units (over 6.2 million units worldwide!) and over 8.4 million tracks.  We bought the soundtrack soon after we saw the movie, and it has played countless times since then -- well, mostly the songs, anyway.  The soundtrack has quite a few instrumentals and demo versions that die hard music fans will love (my favorite is Coronation Day!), even though the kids may never listen to those tracks.
Disney Frozen The Songs CD

If you haven't bought the soundtrack yet, you'll be happy to know that Walt Disney Records will be releasing a special version of the soundtrack on September 30th!  Frozen: The Songs features all 10 songs from the Oscar-winning film at a special low price ($9.99 compared to $13.00 for the full soundtrack).  This is perfect for kids who only want to sing the songs and may not be interested in the instrumentals or the demo versions. What's more, this version includes a sticker sheet and a poster!  There will also be a Spanish language version (Frozen Canciones de Una Aventura Congelada) and a vinyl edition.  Here are some photos of the review CD that Walt Disney Records sent me:

Isn't the CD pretty?
Disney Frozen The Songs CD

The CD includes a sticker sheet with 4 triangular stickers featuring 4 of Frozen's most popular catchphrases / song titles.
Disney Frozen The Songs CD


If, for some inexplicable reason, you STILL don't know the lyrics to the songs, the CD includes a beautiful lyrics sheet.
Disney Frozen The Songs CD

The lyrics sheet folds out to a 13"x18" sheet, and on the other side there is a great Frozen poster!
Disney Frozen The Songs CD

Here's the track list:

  1. Frozen Heart
  2. Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
  3. For the First Time in Forever
  4. Love Is an Open Door
  5. Let It Go
  6. Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People
  7. In Summer
  8. For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)
  9. Fixer Upper
  10. Let It Go (Demi Lovato Version)


Win a Frozen CD

TWO lucky Bonggamom Finds readers will win a copy of Frozen: The Songs CD!

Required Entry 
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Frozen song.

Extra Entries For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.). 

1) Follow bonggamom on Blogger (1 entry) 

2) Follow bonggamom on Instagram (1 entry) 

3) Follow bonggamom on Pinterest (1 entry) 

4) Pin this giveaway on any of your Pinterest boards (1 entry -- you can use the "Pin It" button at the bottom of this page!).

5) "Like Bonggamom Finds" on Facebook and write this on my wall (1 entry): I entered the Frozen: The Songs giveaway! Ends October 3 at http://ow.ly/C1G18 #enmnetwork #disneymusic

6) Tweet this once per day (1 entry per day) 
Win a Frozen: The Songs CD, w/ special poster & stickers! Enter by 10/3 on @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/C1G18  #enmnetwork #disneymusic

7) Join any open giveaway on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you join) 

The Rules This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on October 3, 2014; I will draw 2 winners at random, on October 4 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.

Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. Sample and giveaway prize were provided by Walt Disney Music via ENMNetwork. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Dessert just got better with Dannon Creamery


Dannon Creamery

Every single member of my family is a big yogurt eater.  Yogurt is a staple in our home, and we eat it morning, noon, and night!  Yes, even for dessert.  If the thought of yogurt for dessert seems difficult to swallow, check out Dannon's new line of dairy desserts, Dannon Creamery.  This new line tastes super rich and super indulgent, like your favorite pudding or cheesecake, but each one is less than 250 calories (some are less than 200).

There are currently 8 varieties in the Dannon Creamery line:
Blueberry Cheesecake
Strawberry Cheesecake
Cherry Cheesecake
Lemon Cheesecake
Caramel Cheesecake
Vanilla Pudding
Milk Chocolate Pudding
Dark Chocolate Pudding

Dannon sent us a sample of each flavor, and although we each have our favorites (3Po likes Cherry Cheesecake, Jammy likes Vanilla Pudding, The Pea likes Caramel Cheesecake, Alfie likes Dark Chocolate Pudding, I'm torn between Lemon Cheesecake and Milk Chocolate Pudding), every single one is delicious!  These Cheesecake varieties are made with Greek yogurt (our favorite kind), and the Pudding varieties are made with milk, just like pudding.  All of them are rich, thick and decadent, everything a dessert should be.  I just don't know why they bothered with a resealable lid, because it's not like there's every going to be anything left over to put back in the fridge.

Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions.  The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Bonggamom's Friday Finds: list your giveaways here


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Welcome to Bonggamom's Friday Finds! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter everyone else's, too!


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School lunches are easy and fun with Glad's Designer Series TMNT Mini Rounds


Glad TMNT mini containers

I pack lunch for my kids and husband every single weekday (okay, I do let them buy lunch on Pizza Fridays now and then, but the overwhelming majority of their school lunches come from home). I try to minimize the amount of disposable packaging we use, so we have a ton of reusable food containers on hand,  My favorite ones are the plastic Glad containers -- they are microwave safe, freezer safe, and dishwasher safe, and you can put just about any kind of food in them.  Best of all, they are so inexpensive, I don't go all crazy when my kids lose their lunch containers or accidentally throw one in the trash!

I'm perfectly happy with the Glad's basic clear-and-blue containers, but I have to say, I'm loving the new colors and patterns on some of their newer product lines!  Their latest one is a sure hit with kids, because it features the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the stars of this summer's blockbuster hit.  Just in time for back-to-school, Glad's Designer Series Mini Rounds has Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Rafael, and Donatello printed on the containers.
Glad TMNT mini containers

These mini rounds can hold just the right portion size for a healthy snack.  They're perfect for packing cereal, tomatoes, carrots, pepper strips, crackers, hummus, grapes, rasins, cranberries, blueberries, hummus, yogurt, salsa, salad dressing, and so many other things into your child's lunch box!
Glad TMNT mini containers


I love that these containers are exactly the same size and shape as Glad's basic Mini-Rounds.  You can stack the TMNT rounds along with the basic kind, and interchange lids, so you don't need a separate pile for each kind.
Glad TMNT mini containers



Disclosure:  I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Major Misconceptions about Solar Power




sunlight through the trees

We've always been interested in solar energy for our home.  We live in California, the land of almost eternal sunshine, so how could it not make sense?  Ten years ago we considered having solar panels installed when we had a second floor built onto our ranch house, but the cost at the time was a deal breaker.  On top of all our other construction costs, it was just too much for us, so we regretfully put it on the shelf along with our other "homeowner projects we'd like to pursue".

Ten years later, we found ourselves revisiting the subject. Alfie's car is almost 20 years old, and it's on its last legs.  While researching possible replacements, we spoke with a friend who is leasing an electric vehicle.  Our friend also has solar panels in their home, so their cost to run the car is just like the cost of their electricity bill -- next to nothing (at least, compared with ours!).

Even though the cost of solar power has gone down dramatically, the cost to own solar panels is still significant (my friend said theirs cost about $25k, which is actually on the low side of typical purchase prices today, which can range between $18k and $40k).  That's still a big OUCH in our budget.

But what I didn't know, until our friend told me about it, is that homeowners can now actually lease solar panels instead of purchasing them.  Solar services like Sunrun install solar panels on your roof, and you lock in a fixed rate for the solar energy over a long-term lease period.  Sunrun owns, installs, and maintains the panels, so there's no upfront cost or maintenance cost for you!  Sunrun's business model lets them dispel many of the commonly held misconceptions about solar power, such as:

Misconception: "Solar is expensive and has a high upfront cost."
Reality: With Sunrun solar leasing, homeowners can get solar on their roof for as little as $0 down and start saving on their monthly electricity costs immediately.

Misconception: "Solar is complicated and out of reach."
Reality: Solar service providers like Sunrun take care of all of the details of going solar, from designing the system, installing it on your roof, monitoring the system's production, and maintaining the system throughout the lifetime of the solar service agreement.

Misconception: "Solar energy is more expensive than the electricity my utility provides."
Reality: If Sunrun doesn't think they can save you money, they won't sell you a system.

I also came up with a fourth misconception, which I think is very important:

Misconception: "Purchasing your own solar panels is always better than getting a solar lease, because you get tax credits"
Reality: Some people do not pay enough in federal or state taxes to benefit from the federal investment tax credits resulting from purchasing your own solar power system.  That's why it's so important to do your research or consult a tax professional in order to determine whether you could actually receive any potential tax benefits!

Essentially, they are like a solar power utility company, right up on your roof.  It's a great way for homeowners to enjoy clean electricity at lower costs, right away, without upfront costs!  It looks like the time is ripe for us to take a new look at home solar energy.....

Sunrun solar

Get a $500 Visa Gift Card when you sign up with Sunrun

We have a special offer for Bonggamom Finds readers. If you go solar with Sunrun before Nov. 30, you'll get a $500 VISA® Prepaid Card. (Conditions apply.) Get a free solar quote here.


Disclosure: Information in italics was provided by Sunrun. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


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Fitness made fun with Leapfrog's new LeapBand


Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids
A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview soccer star Mia Hamm. We talked about her involvement with Fit Made Fun Day and her tips to get kids more active (soooo important at a time when a third of kids or teens in the US is overweight or obese!).  We spoke about LeapFrog's new activity tracker, the LeapBand, and how it is motivating kids to get up and about.  I had the chance to test out the LeapBand, and boy is this gadget such an exciting development!  If you have a Fitbit or a Jawbone or a Fuelband and your kid loves to play with it, you can now get him or her a LeapBand to track activity in a much more fun way!

The Basics

Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids

What Leapfrog did for kids' education, they are now doing for kids' fitness -- they are using video gameplay to motivate kids and make it fun! The new LeapBand is a kiddie activity tracker that is worn on a child's wrist and registers motion. It has fun activity challenges like "wiggle like a worm" or "dance like a chicken" or "clap your hands" that kids don't really think of as exercise, just fun and games. Below are some of its best features:

Activity Tracker
The LeapBand tracks your child's motion -- walking, running, skipping, dancing, any movement.  The main screen has an activity meter (visual, not numerical) to give kids an idea of how active they've been.  The LeapBand also lets kids complete fun activity challenges ("Jump like a tiger and roar!", "Hop like popping popcorn!",  "Wriggle your fingers and toes!") for the chance to earn jewels (a pun on "joules"!).
Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids


Virtual Pet
To motivate kids, the LeapBand has a virtual pet that kids can feed and bathe and take care of (remember the Tamagotchi craze?). When your child moves around and completes activity challenges, they earn treats for their virtual pet and unlock new games and new pets to play with.

Games
Kids can interact with their pets in 3 mini games (Pet Parlor, Pet Boogie, Pet Chef), where they learn the importance of good grooming, good nutrition, and healthy habits.  There's also a separate app, Leapfrog's Petathlon Games (available on the LeapPad Ultra or an iOS or Android device), that lets kids' virtual pets compete in the Petathlon Games and play more mini games.
Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids


Parental Controls
Parents can download the LeapConnect app for the LeapBand onto their computers and connect the LeapBand to the computer via USB cable.  They'll be able to view their child's activity, see the jewels they've earned, and download additional activity challenges (up to 50!) onto the LeapBand.  They can even set "quiet" times when kids cannot play with their virtual pet (i.e. school time or nap time).

Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids

The Bongga

* The LeapBand is simple and easy to use, with just 4 buttons and audio instructions so even kids who don't yet know how to read will know what to do.
* The LeapBand also has a watch (so kids can tell time) and a stopwatch (so they can time themselves running or doing anything)
* Parents can set quiet times for the LeapBand (via the Leapfrog Connect app), so even though it is still tracking motion, kids can't use it to play with their pet (they can only use it as a watch). So they can wear it to school or during naptime and not be tempted to play with it.
* The LeapBand is rechargeable (via a USB cable); no more batteries to run out!

Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids

The Blah

* There is no volume control.
* The plastic wristband is not very flexible; some kids might find it uncomfortable wearing for extended periods of time.
* Unlocking pets can be frustrating. Kids have no idea how much longer they have to wait in order to unlock their next pet.

The Bottom Line

All in all, the LeapBand is another great product that masquerades as a video game, but in reality is developing all kinds of skills and healthy habits!
Leapfrog Leapband fitness activity tracker for kids


Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Bonggamom's Friday Finds: list your giveaways here


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Welcome to Bonggamom's Friday Finds! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter everyone else's, too!


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The opinions expressed on the Bonggamom Finds blog are the personal views of the author; any reviews or recommendations are not intended to constitute medical advice or treatment in any form. In addition, neither the Bonggamom Finds blog nor its author are liable, and cannot be held liable, for any dissatisfaction you may have with the product, sponsor or any injuries that may be caused by use of that product.

Posts on this blog routinely link out to other sites; I am not responsible and cannot be held liable for anything on those sites.

I occasionally receive samples of the products I review on this blog. I also occasionally accept monetary compensation for posts on this site. If and when I receive either product samples or compensation for writing a review post, this will be clearly stated in the body of the review post.

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