Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Modern Dad

News, reviews & trends for fathers – a contemporary parent’s perspective.

Dozens of great gift ideas are available for Father’s Day 2014: It’s picking the best ones from all those choices that’s the tricky part! Happily, with the help of some of our friends at several leading firms, we’ve had a chance to sit down and hash out a number of promising new picks that are guaranteed to make Dad’s entire summer. Whatever his interests, whether they lean towards movies, music, or high-tech gadgets, the following five choices are sure to get his attention – and go over about 800X better than a tie or singing greeting card.

For starters, if you want to put a smile on Dad’s face (and keep it happy and healthy), check out the Oral-B Black 7000 power brush. It has a sleek design which removes up to 100 percent more plaque than a regular toothbrush. Oral-B also has a great Power of Dad campaign going on right now at PowerofDad.com – you can share all your favorite photos and moments with dad using hash tag power of dad.  

Now whether he loves listening to music or sports, or watching videos on the go, your father will also dig the LG GRUVE headphones. In addition to delivering awesome HD sound quality, they are super comfortable and block out unwanted noise. The headphones can also be used wirelessly with any Bluetooth-enabled device or wired with an auxiliary cable. You can answer calls and hear texts in between listening to your favorite songs, a feature Dad will definitely dig.

If your father plans to enjoy some summer travel this season, he’ll also want to stay in touch with family and friends, and magicJack is a great way for him to stay plugged in for less than $3 a month. The new magicjack GO uses any broadband connection for improved call quality and free international calls to the U.S. so it’s perfect for summer travel. He’ll also dig the free magicApp for smartphones and tablets which lets him take his home or office number wherever he goes.

And while on-the-go, you can help Dad stay connected with his favorite electronics at home. With the D-Link wi-fi smart plug you can easily control your home devices, wherever you are. With the mydlink Wifi Smart Plug app, you can create on/off schedules for your electronics and keep an eye on power consumption at home. Also no need to worry about overheating appliances – with the built-in thermal sensor, the smart plug will automatically turn them off it they get too hot.

Of course, every dad loves a good laugh as well.  Johnny Knoxville has an all-new movie called Bad Grandpa .5, which is a follow-up to the hit comedy Bad Grandpa. It’s available to download NOW and is loaded with never-before-seen pranks and hilarious behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. It’s pretty hilarious, and something your dad (and your grandpa) will really enjoy.

As you can see, there are plenty of great gifts available for Father’s Day 2014 – we wish you and your family a wonderful time!

Best MMOs and Virtual Worlds for Kids

Best MMOs and Virtual Worlds for Kids

Modern Dad

News, reviews & trends for fathers – a contemporary parent’s perspective.

We’ve given you the basic facts about virtual worlds, talked about some of the key concerns and broken down the 10 most important terms to know about virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. Now we’re ready to provide with you some recommendations. The following is a sampling of the most popular and best online virtual worlds and MMOs for kids. A few of these are our personal favorites, and a few we had no choice but to include based on their popularity. Certainly there are others that didn’t make our top 10 virtual worlds for kids list, so feel free to recommend others in the comments.

Animal Jam – Brought to you by National Geographic Kids, Animal Jam is aimed at early-elementary aged users and has an educational aspect to its minigames and social interactions. With cute, customizable animal characters, and events and happenings that change with the calendar, Animal Jam encourages players to come back again and again to experience different aspects of the game.

Cartoon Universe This Internet universe (an online massively multiplayer virtual world built just for kids that exists and evolves 24/7) lets children connect with one another and investigate worlds inspired by popular series such as Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo, while enjoying safe and fun experiences in the company of other live players.

Clone Wars Adventures – Set in the Star Wars universe between Episodes II and III, Clone Wars Adventures is based on the style of the popular cartoon, and features daily activities, mini-games, captivating planets and more, all within the realm of the Star Wars universe. There are even appearances from Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin and more.  Monthly memberships are available for $5.99 per month.

Club Penguin – Disney’s most popular online world, Club Penguin is a wintry-themed collection of mini-games for players that are designed to be fun and highly-replayable. Featuring a very appealing cartoon-style artwork, Club Penguin is designed for kids of all ages to enjoy, including very young ones. There are extensive moderated chat and friend-filtering options available, and due to the size of the game’s subscriber base, there are often many in-game charity drives that take place.

Fantage – Fantage is a virtual world for kids that provides customizable, cartoony avatars that can be used to participate in a variety of fun and educational activities. Some of the games in Fantage are designed to be enjoyed by multiple players, so enlisting your friend’s help is encouraged. Many schools around the country even use Fantage’s geography,  logic and math games to enhance their curriculum.

FusionFall FusionFall features characters and locations made famous by Cartoon Network’s colorful cast. Throughout the game, you’ll meet grown-up, evil and pint-sized versions of Ben 10, Dexter, the Powerpuff Girls, and more of the network’s top stars.

Space Heroes Universe – Designed by parents, Space Heroes Universe is designed to be extremely kid- and family-friendly, placing players in the role of adorably customizable space heroes who travel to various themed planets such as a forest world or icy planet, taking part in mini-games, solving mysteries and discovering rare items.  Memberships provide enhanced features and access to additional items, and cost $6 per month or $54 per year.

Minecraft – Minecraft is the ultimate online sandbox, in which players create their own structures and communities out of various bricks, while working to avoid attacks by monsters. The simplicity of the game’s objectives and operations lead to a great complexity and diversity of user-generated creations. There’s a free sample version available on the site, or players can join the Minecraft world for a one-time fee of $26.95.

Moshi Monsters – Moshi Monsters invites players to adopt an exceptionally cute pet monster, who must be lavished with a combination of funny, gross and weird items to be kept happy. Players will rely heavily on the game’s in-game currency of Rox, playing daily mini-games to earn more money while connecting with friends. Moshi Monsters saw it’s popularity surge when if switched to a free-to-play model, and offers greatly enhanced memberships after players have already started for $5.95 per month or $49.95 per year.

Skylanders Universe – This online virtual world is sort of a companion to the wildly popular Skylanders video game franchise in which players use real-life figurine toys and place them on a “portal of power” to bring them to life within the game. The game has the same art style, music and other sounds as the games, but is mostly a fun place to play mini-games and play with your Skylanders in diffeerne tways. Skylanders Universe is free-to-play, provided you have purchased Skylanders toys, which can be input into the game using either a USB-attached Portal of Power or the unique ID code that comes in every package.

Wizard 101 – Become a student at the Ravenwood School of Magical Arts and learn the various aspects of magic to equip yourself for a battle against the evil Malistaire and his evil minions. Wizard 101 remains one of the most popular online virtual worlds, and offers memberships starting at $9.95 per month.

How to Save on Baby Products

How to Save on Baby Products

Modern Dad

News, reviews & trends for fathers – a contemporary parent’s perspective.

When recently discussing the high volume and cost of the numerous different products needed for newborns, we all got a big kick when a friend suggested that the best way to save money on baby products is to not have a baby in the first place. Seeing as how you’re probably past that option, here are some more realistic tips and advice for how not to break the bank when shopping for your bouncing bundle of joy. As for nannies and automatic diaper changing solutions, well…  that’s a different conversation entirely.

Talk To Your Friends With Kids – As you probably learned when you are pregnant, it’s nearly impossible for parents to refrain from giving at least some unsolicited advice when it comes to child-rearing.  Take advantage of the fact that others are excited to share their expertise and ask them specific questions about baby products.  Good questions include having them name something they thought was a complete waste of money, as well as what products have they found to be surprisingly essential.  Take their inside information and learn where to focus your resources, and what you can avoid.  My unsolicited advice: You don’t need specific bath towels or washcloths for baby – regular towels work just fine.

Shop Around For Diapers – While friends and can family can certainly debate whether most baby products are even necessary, the one certainty is that you’ll need to put your tike in diapers.  Make sure to shop around and find where the best deals are.  Babies R Us has great deals on diapers in bulk, but you can also have diapers shipped straight to your door from services like Diapers.com or Amazon, which may be more cost efficient even after you factor in shipping.  And warehouses like Costco and Sams Club all offer their own brands as well.  Shop around and buy them in bulk, it’s much cheaper than buying small packs.

Consignment Sales – There’s a healthy resale market for baby products as kids get older and necessity for baby items and toddler toys wanes.  Check local ads for consignment sales such as Just Between Friends, or for any local Parent Connection groups that may have regular swap meets.  You can find great deals from families who simply want to get rid of their stuff, as well as get more coveted insider advice if you’re willing to listen.

Hand-me-downs – One of the things that surprises many first time parents is the amount of hand me down clothes and other items they get from friends and family.  While it’s borne out of a need to help out those you are close to, it’s also a great way for other to clear this stuff out of their house.  See if you can talk to others with kids if they have any extra items they’re not using.  And if you don’t have anyone to help you out, pay it forward and share your products with someone else who needs it.  At the very least, you’ll get the good karma from helping someone out.

Don’t Just Buy The Cheapest Brand – Although that may seem counterintuitive as a way to save money on products, consider that if you buy a more expensive name brand stroller, for example, you’ll likely be able to resell it in a couple of years for close to what you paid for it, provided you kept in good shape.  So if you can stretch your budget now to afford a Double Bob or a Phil & Ted’s for $250, make it work and you’ll likely be able to get a couple years use of it for only $25 or $50 when all is said and done and you sell it for $200.  This applies to other products as well.  Keep an eye on the resale market for certain brands, and consider buying them now (even used) with the knowledge that you can resell for approximately the same price after you’re done with it.