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#ChiTAGIt's Chicago Toy & Game Week, and that means we're once again counting down the days until the annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) once again takes over Navy Pier.  Kids and families can go hands-on with some of this year's hottest holiday toys, get a jump on shopping, or simply come out to play! Tickets are on-sale now (Click here to register with a $3 Off Coupon) for Saturday & Sunday, November 19 & 20, and as we look toward what aims to be the biggest year yet, I'm throwing down some "Rock Father Picks" for what to check out. I've done this in the past, but this year is the first that we've made it official - I'm a 2016 "Play Influencer!"

ChiTAGChicago Toy & Game Week is next week, and as all roads point to the annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair, taking place November 19 & 20 at Navy Pier.  ChiTAG has become a family tradition in which the kids can go hands-on with some of the hottest toys of the holiday season as toy & game makers put on a show at the largest non-hobby Toy & Game Fair that welcomes the public into the fold. As one of the 2016 Play Influencers, I'm pleased to announce a pre-ChiTAG twitter party on Wednesday, November 9, 2016! Brought to you by #ChiTAG (@ChiTAGWeek) and #30SecondMom (@30SecondMom), I'll be co-hosting (@TheRockFather) along with the Toy Queen, Keri Wilmot (@ToyQueen) and Alison Ray (@SoChicLife).

As it was once written: "For centuries, the Legend of Santa Claus has evolved. From Saint Nicholas to Kris Kringle, Father Christmas to simply, Santa - this mysterious giver has taken many forms, appearing throughout the world under countless names to delight and inspire families by doing for others each and every holiday season. For many, the spirit of “Claus” is held within, a shining light that burns with the desire to do for others, particularly for those less fortunate."

When I became "The Rock Father" upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, I had no idea where the road of parenthood would lead. Eventually it became clear that my path is branching, and just as becoming a parent led to the birth of this digital magazine - this site led to the opportunity to do more. My job has allowed me to do some good our local community, and last year the opportunity arose to partner with General Motors and OnStar to hit the road to do some "Black Friday Shopping for Good" - the end result of which provided gifts for 37 children across 15 families right here in our township. Regardless of sponsorship, I made a decision that we'd do it again this year - and bigger, if possible. The Rock Daughters and I began amassing gifts in our garage, and as the holiday season began, we started ramping up a bit. Then, I'm happy to say that we partnered with Chevrolet and OnStar once more, and for 2015 #ChevyShopsForGood!

Published in Rock Father Rides

This weekend, the 13th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) returns to Navy Pier in Chicago for two days of fun, Saturday, November 21, 2015 and Sunday, November 22, 2015. Having covered ChiTAG extensively here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine for the past four years of its run, I've taken a look at this year's schedule and floor plan to highlight five things that we're looking forward to this weekend. With hundreds of participants, there's some familiar faces and some fresh ones that will be exhibiting some of 2015's hottest toys and games (several of which are in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide), appropriately just ahead of Thanksgiving Week and the infamous Black Friday shopping kick-off. Here's a few things to check out... and yes, there will be STAR WARS.

Two years ago, when my family and I made our annual visit to The Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier, one of the companies that I pointed out as a highlight was Noochie Golf. The creation of two young brothers - Tre and Dominic LoBracco - Noochie Golf was at the time a concept that was on-display, but not yet for sale. A set of interchangeable pieces that would allow kids to build their own miniature golf courses at home, Noochie Golf immediately captured the interest of The Rock Daughters... and yours truly, a former High School Golfer. Now, after a successful crowdfunding effort and some bumps along the way, Noochie Golf has made it into production and is now available for-sale through the official site, and at select boutique toy stores. It's also a featured item in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine.

Published in Sports Entertainment

This weekend, the Chicago Toy & Game Group brought the 12th Annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair to Navy Pier, and for the third year in a row, THE ROCK FATHER was there to cover it. The only show of it's kind that's open to the public in addition to members of the toy and game trade, #ChiTAGFair or simply #ChiTAG serves as an unofficial kick-off to the Holiday season here in Chicago - a tradition that offers families a first-hand chance to check out a wide array of new offerings hands-on, from some of the season's hottest toys, to some of the newest and most "out there" games. While my first two experiences at ChiTAG had been good, and the show had impressed, I left last year thinking that the show was skewing too "game" for my liking, ignoring that "toy" is the first part of it's name. Knowing that many of the organizers have deep roots in the gaming community, that wasn't really a surprise, but for my own interests (big on toys, light on games) I was hoping to see a little more balance this year... and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair crew did a fantastic job in bringing together some old friends and new favorites to delight families for two days of pre-Holiday fun. Check out my picks for this year's #ChiTAGFair all-stars below!

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