SWAPtoberfest Begins Today Through the End of the Month!

Skylanders Swap ForceThis October, celebrate the highly anticipated launch of Skylanders SWAP Force with fun SWAPtober activities!

Kicking off SWAPtober, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack per day from October 1-31 via the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGames). Portal Masters can visit Skylanders.com to mix and match their favorite SWAP ForceTM characters out of the more than 250 possible combinations. Fans can then tweet their favorite SWAP Force character combination along with a suggested catchphrase using the hashtags #SWAPtober and #Skylanders for the chance to win one of the daily Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack giveaways, which will be available after the game’s launch.

On October 10, 2013, Times Square will transform in to Skylands for an open to the public “SWAPtoberfest” event. SWAPtoberfest attendees can play the game before it hits store shelves, participate in fun Skylanders SWAP Force-themed activities, take photos with favorite Skylanders characters and have a chance to win amazing Skylanders prizes.

Happy SWAPtober!

Holiday Showcase: Skylanders Giants

You know you live in a house full of gamers when you personally know the staff at your local GameStop. As I walk around the game store, I found the Skylanders figures cute. I wasn’t really sure how they were incorporated in a video game, but I noticed that Activision publishes this game, so they probably know what they are doing. It should be noted that I am NOT a gamer. 😉 I was quickly educated that Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure combined a physical and digital toy experience, redefining a new model of children’s play.

With the success of the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure comes a new saga for this video game. The sequel, Skylanders Giants, is a whole new game, not an add on to the original Skylanders. It is designed to allow your kids to bring their characters over from the previous game. Since all of the character data is stored on the physical model, your kids can easily bring that character into the new game. In fact, any Skylander they bring from the original game to Giants will be upgraded. This is great news for Skylanders fans as the the original figures will not be devalued by the newcomers.

Seeing the new Skylanders Giants figures at Time to Play Holiday Showcase, I am happy to recognize the same high level of design and craft being spent on each one. They are much bigger than the original models, and they bring their massive size into the game world as well. There is one Giant for each of the Skylanders‘ elements. Giants are able to interact with enemies and the landscape in a very different way than normal Skylanders. Like the previous game, Skylanders Giants will be available for just about every platform, and the characters are completely cross-platform. I absolutely LOVE this! If you’re still playing the original game, there’s backwards compatible content too.

In addition to the toys and the game, there is also a vast (and FREE!) virtual world online at Skylanders Universe. It’s one stop shop for Skylanders fans providing hours of added value play for kids and tweens with creative and engaging elements. Your kids will have fun entering the portal and building their army of Skylanders this holiday season!

Holiday Showcase: LeapFrog

Is the expensive iPad or Playstation Vita on your child’s wishlist? Then, you’ll be happy to know that LeapFrog has created two devices that will fit your budget and educate at the same time. LeapPad 2 is really the ultimate toy for children. With its tablet-like features, touchscreen, and stylus, the LeapPad 2 satisfies that curiosity. The device is well-built and well-designed. The technical specifications aren’t as large of a boost compared to what you might see in a smartphone or a video game console. It’s an excellent investment in your child’s early learning skills and an entertainment device that keeps their active minds busy. This device is designed for kids 3-9 years old.

(Left) LeapsterGS (Right) LeapPad2

Next is the Leapster GS. The Leapster GS is a great device for fast-action LeapFrog games because of its size and button controls.  It comes with a built-in microphone and back-facing camera.  This Leapster GS is designed for kids who are 4 to 9 years old.

As far as software, you’ll be glad to know that both systems are essentially backwards compatible. So whether you were using cartridges or downloading apps (priced from $5-$25) from LeapFrog‘s store, all of that content can go back and forth between the devices. That said, the LeapPad 2 comes pre-installed with a music player and a few creativity apps.

Last but not least, the LeapPad 2 has a Disney Princess-themed bundle that includes a case and other goodies for an extra $30.

Video Games ARE NOT just for BOYS

Parents, and even some researchers, have long blamed video games for such problems as obesity, violence, depression and detachment from family and friends.
Let’s start out with the stats:

  • Over 90% of kids play video games in US.
  • 11% of children under 8 use a smartphone, iPod, iPad, etc. to play games.
  • 42% of children under 8 have a TV in their bedroom. 
  • 40% of time spent on Facebook is spent playing social games.

  • But, Brigham Young University School of Family Life researchers stand by a positive notion that could surprise some people: Video games may help strengthen the bond between parents and their daughters. The study found that girls who played video games with a parent behaved better, felt more connected to their families and had better mental health than those girls who did not play video games with their parents. Researchers also found that these game-playing gals had lower levels of internalization of emotions and higher levels of social behavior with their family members than those who did not play video games with parents. But, there was no evidence of such benefits with boys.

    It is important to note that positive bonding time was only associated with age-appropriate video games. At a recent Activision Games For Girls Summit, they presented 6 games for that girls most often play: Lalaloopsy, Zoobles, Wappy Dog, ZhuZhu Babies, Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo and Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize! All of these featured games have some level of nurture and care for the creatures and characters.

    • Does your girl like making cute things? She might like Lalaloopsy.
    • Zoobles allows your girl to take care for their zoobles and explore whimsical worlds.
    • Meet Wappy Dog! He’s the best pet to give to your child this holiday 🙂
    • Zhuzhu Babies brings your pets alive by caring & nurturing them. NoteTargeted for youngest gamer with voice guidance.
    • Moshi Monsters is the world’s fastest growing online game for kids. Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo expands their online gaming experience on the Nintendo DS.

    FINALLY, in Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize, kids will explore the recently opened Adventure Mall Surprize. As young gamers control their squishy, squashy character, they learn to navigate the mall in a quest to invite the other lovable Squinkies to a fantastic Squinkies party.

    I am giving a lucky reader Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize Nintendo DS video game and Squinkies Tiny Toy Set. Comment below why you like to play video games. You can also enter by following Real Posh Mom and tweet the giveaway. Make sure to include @realposhmom and @ATVIGames4Girls in your tweet. The giveaway will end November 28.

    Disclosure: I was given the above gifts at the Activision Games For Girls Summit.  I was not obligated to write this review but wanted to share what I learned at the summit.