Eat Your Greens: How to Encourage the Kids to Eat More Healthily

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“Eat your greens!” is an adage that many parents live by. But, what to do when your kids refuse to eat the healthy foods on their plate? It can drive us to the brink of despair. After all, you want your children to grow up to strong and healthy. A diet of bread crumbs can play havoc with that.

Getting kids to eat their fruit and vegetables can be problematic. Tackling the problem of fussy eating is not something that can be done overnight. But, there are some great ways that you can encourage a healthier lifestyle all-round.

Give Fruit as a Pudding

We often reward kids with dessert for eating their dinner. But, many of us give sweet treats. We’re all guilty of it. Make sure that you are encouraging your kids to eat more fruit by giving them a fruit salad as a pudding or dessert. Make it colourful, so that it looks appealing. Grapes, strawberries and bananas are all rich in their colour. The bright look of fruit can be appealing for kids. So, ditch the chocolate and make sure that you are giving fruit as a pudding. This is a great way of encouraging them to eat more carefully and healthily.

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Credit: David Goehring

Make it Fun!

Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be boring. A great way of making sure that your kids eat their greens is all in the presentation. Make smiley faces on their plate using vegetables of different colours. Think about their favourite animals or hobbies, and use the vegetables to create the shapes on their plate. This can be time-consuming. But, the rewards can be beneficial. Kids often see vegetables as dull. So, jazz up dinner times and encourage them to eat their greens.

Grow Your Own Greens

Getting the kids involved with growing their own fruit and vegetables is one of the best ways to encourage them to ditch their fussy eating habits. They will take an enormous amount of pride in their produce. Plus, they get to eat it afterwards! Growing fruit in your garden is easy. You don’t need a raft of expensive equipment. A small plot of land and grow lighting can ensure that you are on your way to having a house full of healthy eaters. They will love the messy element of this!

Expose Your Kids to Different Food Stuffs Early On

For many children, the texture of fruit and vegetables can be off-putting. The key is to ensure that you introduce them to various food stuffs at an early stage. You can puree the food to make sure that they are getting nutritional foods. But, you can also ensure that you are introducing different kinds of foods at an early age. The more accessible you find fruit and vegetables, the easier it will be to feed your kids.

The Reward Chart System

Reward charts can be beneficial for fussy eaters. Give out stickers and stars every time they eat their greens. Make sure that you follow up with praise. The key is to not lose your temper. This can have a negative impact on your child’s relationship with food.



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Help With Surviving The School Holiday

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Whether it’s the fast approaching Christmas holidays or another break from school, it can be hard going. As much as children might pretend they like school they generally benefit from the schedule and structure of a school day. Not only that but it gives them plenty to do and a chance to see their friends, so it really isn’t all bad. It is when the school  holidays come around that children can get easily distracted and excitable, which can make it hard to get through!

However, like it or not your children get plenty of school holiday each year, so you need to be prepared.

Spend Time With Other Children

Children get bored easily so you need to make sure you do what you can t keep them happy. Try to arrange regular play date with children that they usually play with at school. That way they don’t miss their friends too much. On top of that they have plenty of fun and this makes the school holidays much more enjoyable for everyone. If you are visiting relatives then try to plan this for time when other young family members will be there. That way they can entertain themselves and the adults will have a much more stress-free time.

The Great Outdoors

Rather than being stuck inside the house all day, try to get children out and about. Even if the weather is bad – just wrap up warm and get out there. Children need fresh air to grow and to feel good. If you are all stuck out in the house under each other’s feet, everyone will soon get bored and fed up. Plan a day outside, even if just for a few hours. You can be sure that everyone will feel better for it.

A Little Education

Just because they are not in school doesn’t mean that you can forget education altogether. You can use the school holidays to complement their education. This will mean that they do much better when they do go back. There are loads of educational games you can download onto your laptop and smart phones so get some of these for you to all play. Not only will they keep your children entertained but they can teach them new skills too.

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Getting Crafty

It is also a good idea to try and keep them busy with new ideas too. Try to look up things that you can make together. Children love getting crafty especially if they get something useful at the end of it. So you can perhaps cook dinner together or make Christmas presents for the family. There are loads of crafty projects suitable for young children so look these up online, and you’ll find plenty to keep everyone happy.

Have Fun

Remember though that this is the school holidays and therefore it is their chance to wind down. It is important to keep them busy and happy, but they need time to rest and relax too. Plan games that will keep them happy just for the sake of playing. You can also plan DVD days and fun sleepovers.

You can even download some games onto your laptop for them to play with. There are a whole host of games that you can be downloaded. This is great because it means that when they get bored you can simply delete it and put a new one on for them. So whether they’re looking for different racing games, roleplay games, puzzle solving or anything else you can be confident that they will be something for them. Just make sure you supervise their play and that you do them downloading and not them.

Day Trips

One thing that worries parents is the cost of activities during the holidays. However don’t assume that all you need to worry about is expensive trips out and spending lots of money. If you look up local museums and other attractions you’ll find that many of these cost less than you think and some are even free! You can easily plan an affordable day out around these, especially if you are organised and take packed lunches with you.

Keeping a Schedule

One thing that children relish from when it comes to school is the schedule that they keep while they are there. There is nothing wrong with a few late nights during the holidays but it is important to keep these as a treat. If you let children stay up too late every single night, then you’ll find it much harder to get them back into a decent sleep schedule when school starts up again. Not only that but if your child gets tired then, they are far more likely to get grouchy and bored during the day. The last thing you want is for them to spend their school holidays in a bad mood.

Burning Off Energy

Children get bored because they have energy to burn and no way to burn it. Give them something to do every day that is going to help them burn off their energy. This could be something as simple as an hour at the park or taking them swimming at the local leisure centre. It could also be a day out somewhere with loads of walking. Anything that gets them moving and burning energy is a definite bonus.

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Keeping Things Varied

If you can come up with an activity that your children like then great, however you do have to make sure that you keep things varied. If you keep repeating the same activity over and over again then they’ll become quickly bored, and that is no good for anyone. Rather than let this happen, just try to keep things as interesting and varied as possible.

The school holidays are a great way to spend time as a family. Plan out your days in advance and speak to your children about the things they would most like to do. That way you all have fun and spend some valuable time together.

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Strawberry Shortcake Lemon Meringue Styling Doll Review

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strawberry shortcake styling doll

Strawberry Shortcake Styling Dolls
All the girls in Berry Bitty City like to get her hair styled at Lemon’s salon, and now you can be the stylist!  Whether you’re getting ready for a fancy event or a fun-filled adventure, you can create new looks every time you play. Brush, braid and clip Strawberry or Lemon’s hair into tons of different styles for hours of fashionable fun!

SSC_Prd_style_lemonIncludes: Sweet scented doll with outfit, styling comb, hair clips, barrettes and hair extension clips.
Available in Strawberry and Lemon – Each sold separately.
For Ages 3+, $19.99

SSC_Styles_hairHow will you style your doll’s hair?

strawberry shortcake styling dolls
I loved all things Strawberry Shortcake when I was a little girl so I especially love that my girls are also Strawberry Shortcake fans.  Just one sniff of Strawberry Shortcake dolls or her friends brings me right back to my childhood and this Strawberry Shortcake Lemon Meringue Styling Doll is no different.  Lemon Meringue smells lemony delicious!  She comes with several accessories such as clip in hair and barrettes that are sure to delight any Strawberry Shortcake fan.  My girls especially love dolls with long hair so they were delighted to get Lemon Meringue out of the box and take turns combing her golden locks, putting her hair up with the barrettes, and just taking her around with them.  She is about 11 inches tall but she is much bigger than a regular fashion type doll.  My girls really love that about her.
Both Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue Styling Dolls are great for any Strawberry Shortcake fan on your holiday gift list.

Who is your favorite Strawberry Shortcake Character?

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Adventure Time: Finn the Human on DVD 11/25

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Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME: FINN THE HUMAN arrived on DVD, today- Tuesday, November 25th! The DVD includes an exclusive backpack and is value packed with 16 fan-favorite episodes!
ATFinntheHuman2DThis Christmas, Santa’s got a brand new bag—courtesy of Cartoon Network! Following the huge success of the Jake vs. Me-Mow and Jake the Dad DVDs and accompanying Finn and Jake hats, fans of Cartoon Network’s smash hit series, Adventure Time, can now complete their Finn look with an authentic backpack, which is valued at around 20 bucks on its own, packaged with the DVD! Packed with 16 hilarious episodes from fan-favorite seasons, Adventure Time: Finn the Human is a must-have gift for any Adventure Time lover. Beginning November 25, 2014, for only $24.98, fans will be able to get their hands on nearly three hours of content and a sweet exclusive backpack, perfect for any adventure this holiday season.The episodes included on the Adventure Time: Finn the Human DVD are:

  1. The New Frontier
  2. The Lich
  3. Finn the Human
  4. Jake The Dog
  5. We Fixed a Truck
  6. Blade of Grass
  7. The Red Throne
  8. The Great Bird Man
  9. One Last Job
  10. Little Dude
  11. City of Thieves
  12. Conquest of Cuteness
  13. Who Would Win
  14. Ignition Point
  15. Furniture & Meat
  16. Sad Face

Adventure Time: Finn the Human is the latest DVD release from Cartoon Network, and joins the best-selling—not to mention bonus-filled—Adventure Time seasons 1-4, as well as episodic releases, Adventure Time: Jake the Dad, Adventure Time: Jake vs. Me-Mow, Adventure Time: My Two Favorite People and Adventure Time: It Came From the Nightosphere, all of which are currently available at retail. These DVDs join a robust line of consumer products, including toys, apparel, accessories, comic books, costumes, posters, youth electronics, posters, publishing and much more.


Created by Pendleton Ward, the Adventure Time television series is an original animated comedy from Cartoon Network that follows the everyday adventures of unlikely heroes Finn the Human and his best friend, the shape-shifting dog Jake, as they travel across the Land of Ooo and encounter its unique inhabitants. Whether it’s saving Princess Bubblegum, defeating zombie candy, mocking the “oxy-moronic” Ice King, or rocking out with undead music wiz Marceline the Vampire Queen, with Finn & Jake it’s always Adventure Time! New episodes of the Emmy® Award-nominated series debut on Cartoon Network on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT), with replays throughout the week.

What we thought:

Little Blogger- I really liked this DVD because it had some of my favorite episodes like We Fixed a Truck, Blade of Grass, City of Thieves, and many more.  I was really excited that it came with Finn’s backpack.  I love Adventure Time because it has funny characters and funny adventures that Finn and Jake go on in each episode.  Adventure Time is very entertaining to watch.

adventure time dvdHere are two clips from the DVD-

Film Clip: Conquest of Cuteness
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Film Clip: Red Throne
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MerryMakers Plush Dolls Review

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MerryMakers Plush Dolls are collection of huggable dolls based on favorite children’s book characters. These dolls are thoughtfully designed, meticulously crafted and carefully tested.  Having a doll that is based on favorite children’s book characters really brings reading books to a whole new level.  When children have a tangible character in their arms and can read to their huggable literary friends, it makes them want to read more.  Stories really jump off the page when the character is sitting next to you!

Making Reading Merry

Adding Toys to Children’s Books Makes Eager Readers

Oakland, CA – (November 6, 2014) – When toys are added, do the books get better? 

Clair Frederick, President of MerryMakers, Inc., an Oakland, California-based toy and gift company, explains, “We are adding more joy to the joy of reading. When we add a plush based on the lead character from a children’s book, kids become more engaged. A tangible toy brings a deeper relationship with the character in the book.”

“The combination of the book with a related toy involves a child in a more meaningful way. It’s an additional connection to the story,” adds Betsy Foster, VP Sales and Marketing.

Supporting evidence of MerryMakers business plan may be seen inPete the Cat, the popular children’s book series by James Dean, published by HarperCollins. Pete the Cat books have sold over 5 million hardcover copies and have regularly appeared at the top of the NYT Bestseller List.  The Pete the Cat plush doll is the bestselling product in the MerryMakers line.  There seems to be no stopping Pete, with 2.9 million books sold in 2013 alone.

MerryMakers offers a variety of Pete the Cat merchandise, including a Giant Pete the Cat doll, a Pete the Cat backpack pull, a pencil case, a Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons puppet and a Pete the Cat Saves Christmas doll. In addition, MerryMakers acts as the exclusive licensing agent for Pete the Cat and has signed several licensing deals including University Games, Educational Insights, Colorforms and Wonder-Shirts.

Another popular MerryMakers toy is based on Tom Lichtenheld and Sherri Duskey Rinker’s book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, published by Chronicle Books. MerryMakers teamed with Chronicle Books to create a plush Excavator, the lead character in the book. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site has spent over two years on the New York Times Bestseller List, and MerryMakers’s soft excavator is one of the company’s top-selling preschool products.

The MerryMakers catalog of plush and other gifts includes items based on Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series, Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser’s Fancy Nancy books, Kevin Henkes’s famous mouse Lilly, Ian Falconer’s Olivia, Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty, Judy Schachner’s Skippyjon Jones, Tedd Arnold’s Fly Guy, David Soman and Jacky Davis’s Ladybug Girl and Melanie Watt’sScaredy Squirrel.

MerryMakers line of toys is loved by kids, praised by parents and acclaimed by teachers.  We chose characters from two of our favorite books.  When my girls were younger I always read them The Kissing Hand (of course for the sake of this post I couldn’t find the actual book).  When my daughters would leave to go somewhere without me (like school) I would give them a kiss on the palm of their hands so they could hold my kiss with them the whole day like in the story.  I just love this cute plush raccoon that is complete with a red heart on his hand.P1230537

My girls also love all of the Just __________ and Me books.  Of course my favorite is Just My Mom and Me.  So we were all exited to see that MerryMakers makes a plush Little Critter doll, too!  P1230540My girls are older now but they still love to read and they now love reading to their new MerryMakers plush dolls.

Here are some of the plush dolls that you can find on the MerryMakers website.
Which one is your favorite?

Pout-Pout Fish Found Floppy Bunny Pete the Cat
Nelly Gnu Clark the Shark Fancy Nancy
(New Size!)
Gingerbread Man
Pete the Cat
Pencil Case
Fly Guy
(New Sizes!)
Caroline Jayne Church Bear Voyage to the Bunny Planet
How Rocket Learned to Read
(New Size!)
Girl with a Pearl Earring Dot. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Pete the Cat Holiday Llama Llama Holiday Ladybug Girl Bad Kitty
Pete the Cat Pete the Cat
Buttons Puppet
Walter the
Farting Dog
Now in 2 Sizes
Now in 3 Sizes
Five Little Monkeys Otis the Tractor Baby Bear Sees Blue Nightsong
Whistle for Willie Peek-a Who? Dear Zoo Little Critter
Llama Llama Puppet Z is for Moose Llama Llama Skippyjon Jones
Penny and Her Song A Ball for Daisy On the Night You Were Born Froggy
Scaredy Squirrel One Love How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? The Quiet Book/The Loud Book!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Only One You The Snowy Day The Kissing Hand
Where Is the Green Sheep? Duck & Goose Aliens Love Underpants Geronimo Stilton
Everywhere Bears History Everywhere Bears Outdoors Park Ranger Bear Doll Park Ranger Backpack Pull
Park Ranger Doll Mysteries of Egypt
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Blue Orange Games: Aztack & Doodle Quest Review

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Disclosure:  I received the product mentioned below to facilitate my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 7.57.20 PM

With 14 years experience creating high quality games, exquisitely designed for maximum fun, Blue Orange Games looks to the future with consistent ideals. I’m so glad I found this company! We have always had the classic games around the house (like Monopoly) but after a while we would try to look for new family game night ideas.

Blue Orange only chooses durable, feel-good materials, and pledge to produce games that last through generations and create cherished moments. Cherished moments is definitely something I want when spending time with my girls.



Ages: 7 to Adult
Players: 2 to 4
Play Time: 15 minutes

aztackAztack is a game that focuses on Visual Perception, Focus and Attention. Something we could all use to sharpen our skills. To win the favor of the high priest, players must build a temple out of inscribed stones according to divine laws. Every added stone must bridge the two underneath and match them by color or glyph. Only the most observant and strategic player will win this stacking game. Block out your opponent and stack the most stones to rise to the top of the Aztack!

aztack2Aztack is fun because you have to strategize which piece to play next.  You can either match both colors, both symbols or for an extra turn you can match both colors AND both symbols.  My girls were able to play it because it is a matching game similar to dominoes but I enjoyed it, too.  The “stones” have a nice feel to them.  They are high quality and not flimsy.  This is a new family favorite for sure.


Doodle Quest

Ages: 6 and Up 
Players: 1 to 4 
Play Time: 20 minutes 
doodle questDoodle Quest is a super fun game my girls really enjoyed. They have asked me to play it several times already and we haven’t had it that long. It’s a game that encourages Visual-spatial, Creativity, Focus and Attention. To play, you will complete each quest with the power of your pen, drawing your way through underwater scenes on the quest cards. But it’s not that easy!  Players draw on separate transparent sheets and must trust their eyes in order to meet targets and avoid obstacles.  This unique drawing game includes 36 illustrations and two levels to master.  I love that each card has an easier level on the front and a harder level on the back.  This makes it great for children and adults to play together and still be on a level playing field.  Another great thing about Doodle Quest is that it can be a one player game, too, so my girls can play it when they are by themselves, too.  BONUS!

doodle quest2


  • 18 Double-sided Quest Cards
  • 4 Transparent Doodle Sheets
  • 4 Drawing Boards
  • 4 Dry-erase Pens
  • 4 Erasers
  • 4 Fish Stencils
  • Scoring Sheet
  • Instruction Sheet

Blue Orange offers a huge selection of games to choose from. most of which you won’t even realize you are learning from. Go over and check them out for yourself at!

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Lalaloopsy Girls Doll, Lalaloopsy Tinies, and Moxie Girlz Mermaid Review

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Disclosure:  I received the product mentioned below to facilitate my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.moxie

Are your girls ready for an underwater adventure? That’s exactly what you will get with this Moxie Girlz Avery Magic Swim Mermaid! This glittery, colorful doll swims on her own when placed in water, perfectly capturing the magic of mermaids. Who says mermaids aren’t real? This doll was exactly what we needed to make bath time a little more exciting for my girls.

Moxie Girlz MermaidAvery is equipped with sensors that enable her to detect when she’s in water. Upon being submerged, she begins waving her tail back and forth and is propelled forward. How cool is that?!  Plus her tail changes colors when it gets put into warm water or you hold it and the heat from your hand warms it.  My girls love watching her tail change colors.

  • Delights and dazzles with graceful swimming
  • Flowing hair and colorful tail capture attention
  • Automatically senses water and begins swimming motion
  • Moveable head, arms, and tail allow for numerous poses

I think your kids will love this Moxie Girlz Avery Magic Swim Mermaid as much as mine do!


There is a new line of fashion dolls who were inspired by the core Lalaloopsy characters, Lalaloopsy Girls Dolls! These girls are grown-up and ready for school!

All of these dolls feature fun and innovative lanyard hair and come with their favorite pet. So cute! Deluxe dolls also include fun PJs for sleepover play and color-changing hair. My girls are obsessed!  My girls are getting older but they still love to play with dolls so these Lalaloopsy Girls Dolls are perfect for them.  I have to admit I love them, too.  Their hair is made of lanyard material (like the bracelets I used to make as a child) so you don’t have to worry about their hair getting messed up.


  • Each Lalaloopsy Girls character has a unique personality based on what she was made from
  • Features fun lanyard hair for immersive hair play
  • Includes comb
  • Includes adorable pet
  • Totally collectible!

Lalaloopsy Girls DollI love that these super cute dolls are so flexible and easy to adjust into different positions. They are great for imaginative play. Also when Mommy needs some quiet time.  We look forward to adding more of the Lalaloopsy Girls Dolls to our collection.


Everyone’s favorite Lalaloopsy characters are now button-sized! More than 100 Lalaloopsy Tinies are available to collect.


  • Adorable houses are the perfect size for your Lalaloopsy Tinies!
  • Each house works as a carrying case too!
  • Includes Exclusive Character Lalaloopsy Tinies doll
  • Every character is different
  • Totally collectible

I love all of the cute little details the house has. They look great and they are hard plastic so they hold up well. The play set comes with one mini doll and her pet mouse, as well as a few accessories including a stove, teapot, cup, and cake.

Lalaloopsy Tinies
These Tinies make the perfect stocking stuffer! My girls can’t wait to collect them all.

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100 FREE Children’s Kindle eBooks PLUS Cooking, Crafts, and More!

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Books can get so expensive so why not grab some free eBooks for your children and yourself?
Head here to see the list of the Top 100 FREE Children’s eBooks.
Here you’ll find the Top 100 FREE eBooks in lots of other categories such as cooking, crafts, and more!
Check back often as they are updated daily!

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Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars FREE Printable Activity Sheets- DVD Now Available!

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In honor of the Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars DVD which is available NOW, here are some fun activity sheets your Jedi knights!

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VTech InnoTab MAX Review and Giveaway

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Disclosure- I received a VTech InnoTab MAX to facilitate my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 6.14.57 PM

Recently VTech released their 4th generation kid’s learning tablet called InnoTab MAX. I was so excited the first time I saw it on T.V. Seriously! I don’t even think my daughter cared as much as I did. Once I heard we would get the chance to review it, I was over the moon.

It has new processing power that is six times faster than the previous generation and features a 7″ high-resolution multi-touch screen display and is recommended for kids ages 3-9. I love that HUGE age gap. I hate when I buy technology or any toy for that matter and they grow out of it as soon as I blink.


First, I have to tell you that I just love the size of this tablet. And it has a cover that’s attached so kids can just flip it shut when they are done. Now us parents don’t have to worry about the screen getting damaged when not in use.


This amazing InnoTab MAX features an enhanced 2nd generation version, of Premium VTech Kid Connect™, at no additional charge, allowing children and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers in real time between the tablet and a smartphone. I just downloaded the app right to my iPhone and BAM I could connect with her. This is great when I have to go out of town for work. I can still connect with her in our own way. I love it!


As if all of that weren’t enough, InnoTab MAX offers the best of both learning worlds with access to more than 650 educator-endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps that can be purchased and downloaded through VTech’s Learning Lodge® app store. Score! The tablet comes with 15 onboard apps including Premium VTech® Kid Connect, My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art Studio, Wonder Cam Max, E-Reader with Story Dictionary and a whole lot more. So oldest daughter that’s 11 has used it as a homework helper as well. Just don’t tell her I told you that.

Something that was so important to me was the battery. We have had a few other devices that we were always buying new batteries for. It was unreal! The InnoTab MAX features include a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery and kid-safe Wi-Fi so kids can explore appropriate online games, videos and websites that have been pre-selected by VTech. No more worrying about what your kids could be doing on the world wide web. Plus, parental controls allow parents to manage their child’s apps, web access and tablet time, as well as view a progress log. You are allowed a maximum of four users, which is plenty for us. 


For me, this tablet is pretty much perfect. A handle, flip and fold stand and removable cover are provided on InnoTab MAX for convenience and as added protection. It didn’t come with a screen protector, but I did add one just to be safe. I love that my daughter is learning while having fun. I’m sure she doesn’t even realize she actually is learning. Go check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

One reader will WIN a VTech InnoTab Max tablet!! Perfect timing for the holidays. In case you don’t WIN you can still grab your very own Tech InnoTab Max Tablet on VTech or Amazon.

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