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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Since the beginning, Fisher-Price has led the charge in getting kids started right with great toys that teach important skills -- always evolving with the times, making sure that their latest offerings have been able to provide the tools that kids and parents are looking for. With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) being so important, the new Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar is an exciting new toy recommended for kids ages 3-6, and available now at Best Buy. Moving beyond the simple ABCs and 123s, the Code-a-pillar encourages little ones to practice critical thinking, problem solving, sequencing and planning - all in an easy-to-use, vibrant toy that's a lot of fun.

If there's one place I should be right now, it's in New York for the 113th North American International Toy Fair. Instead, I'm covering virtually from Rock Father HQ in snowy Northern Illinois, and tonight comes news that the Toy Industry Association (TIA) has released their list of the Top Toy Trends for 2016. Working with toys (toymakers) year-round myself, I'm in complete agreement with this year's list - one compiled in the weeks leading up to Toy Fair, as global toy companies identify what families will be playing with in the year ahead, leading into the all-important holiday season - something I watch with great interest as I compile my annual Holiday Wish Guide. Check out what's hot this year...

Nearly seven years into the parenting realm, and being completely immersed in family media nearly 24/7, I've developed a pretty good gauge for what's gonna be big, and what will fall flat when it comes to children's programming. I've said for the past few years that I think we're living in the best time ever to be either a parent or a child when it comes to televised (including streaming) content, with increased competition from both new platforms and reinvigorated players in the game creating an environment where everyone is forced to "do better," and that's continued into 2016. From NBCUniversal's Sprout Channel (for whom I contributed to their since-shuttered Sprout Parents website prior to their buyout awhile back) comes a curious new show called FLOOGALS, and with its official premiere happening this Saturday, I'm telling you right now: This will be one of your preschooler's new favorite shows.

Published in Movies, TV and More

With our oldest daughter, Addie being so into science these days, I was excited when SMART ANATOMY by Oregon Scientific hit retailers this fall. Since she's become so inquisitive about how things work - including the body, we've spent quite a bit of time at the library, checking out books based on some specific things. For a few months, she was obsessed with eyes - she wanted to know every piece of them, and how each of them worked. Then it was the heart, and the pattern has continued. With Smart Anatomy, kids can delve deep inside a visual and highly interactive depiction of the human body, with removable parts and a smart pen that activates a wealth of information covering healthy eating habits, bones, organs, muscles and more. "Alex" is the face of Smart Anatomy, and with two faceplates included, Alex can be a boy or a girl.

Have your little ones been watching Nickelodeon’s Blaze and the Monster Machines? The Rock Daughters have, and they're loving the high-octane STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) goodness that's packed into every episode. Now comes word that Blaze and the crew will be speeding across the seven continents in “Race to the Top of the World,” an hour-long special featuring guest voice appearances by Emmy-nominated actors Anthony Anderson (Barbershop, Black-ish) as Pegwheel the Pirate and Mayim Bialik (Blossom, The Big Bang Theory) as the Sphinx. The special will be simulcast across Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App on Monday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT). 

Published in Rock Father Rides

Spin Master's MECCANO (known in the U.S. as "Erector" Sets) has just scored a Guinness World Record. The Big Bridge Build, a year-long project, resulted in a massive bridge over Clarendon Dock in Belfast, Ireland, built entirely out of Meccano parts. Created by the Queen's University Belfast Civil Engineering Department with assistance from Spin Master, McLaughlin & Harvey and Aecom, Architecture and Civil Engineering faculty and students built the bridge, with the help of local school children, as part of the university's outreach program to encourage more children to think about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Officials from Guinness World Records have confirmed that this bridge is the world's largest Meccano structure. Take a look at some stats!

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