Parents@Play Review – Compose Yourself from ThinkFun

compose yourself thinkfunCompose Yourself (ThinkFun)
Every once in a while game comes along that is completely unique. Compose Yourself is one of those games. Open the box and you’ll find 60 transparent, coded music cards, each imprinted with a musical staff and four beats worth of notes. Since they’re transparent, you can arrange each card in four different ways (there’s nothing on the cards to indicate a “right” side). Now comes the fun part. String together any four cards to create a unique composition (there are apparently over a billion possibilities). Then, go to the Compose Yourself website, enter the codes, and you’ll hear your composition played by a full symphony orchestra! If you’re happy, download an mp3 or print out sheet music. If not, re-compose and try again. Besides being tremendously fun, this is a great way to expose children to music and/or to teach music reading. Ages 6+. $19.99. http://thinkfun.com/

For more toy and game reviews, visit Parents@Play.

Parents@Play Review – Cash Out! from SimplyFun

cash out simply funCash Out! (SimplyFun, LLC)
Each player is a fund manager tasked with building a diversified, balanced, high-yield portfolio. The goal, of course, is to cash out with the most points. Along the way, you’re buying, selling, and strategizing. Cash Out! Is a fun way to introduce your child (or yourself) to some basic investment concepts before he or she starts playing around with that college fund. Takes 20-30 minutes to play. For 2-4 players, ages 10+. $24. http://www.simplyfun.com/

For more toy and game reviews, visit Parents@Play.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift That Could Save Dad’s Life

heart attackFor the dad you’d like to have around for a long, long time: Preventive Heart Attack Screening

Every year, more than half a million Americans suffer a first heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And more than half of those first heart attack victims die within an hour. Fortunately, about 80% of those deaths could be prevented with early detection and aggressive treatment. If your dad is 55-75, have a heart-to-heart talk and encourage him to learn about the dangers of plaque buildup in the arteries and get screened. Experts recommend one of two non-invasive tests that can detect problems and give dad’s healthcare provider an opportunity to get dad to take steps to reduce his risks: Calcium Scoring CT Heart Scan and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) Ultrasound. Prices vary and may or may not be covered by your insurance, so check with your provider. That call could save dad’s life.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift for Neat Freak Dads

dyson v6 absoluteFor the neat-freak dad: Dyson v6 Absolute (Dyson)

You might think your vacuum is fine, but unless you have a Dyson V6 Absolute, it probably isn’t. Most vacuums will either pick up tiny dust or the biggest stuff, but not much in between. This one, well, this one is amazing. It’s only five pounds and cordless, two features that might make you think it’s not very powerful. But you’d be wrong. The Absolute has two heads, including a soft, non-scratching roller so it can handle everything from wood to carpet. It also has a clear canister that’s easy to empty and lets you see all the junk you’re vacuuming up, which makes it easy to retrieve those LEGO pieces. And HEPA filtration cleans a lot of allergens out of the air. Runs for 20 minutes on a charge. $600. http://www.dyson.com

Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts for Gamer Dads

nintendo 3ds xlFor the dad who takes his entertainment on the go: Nintendo 3DS XL (Nintendo)

Nintendo’s new-and-improved 3D XL system (called, simply enough, 3DS XL) sports more gaming power, faster hardware, and even a few new buttons for more precise control. These include a new c-stick (a smaller, flatter joystick) and two shoulder buttons, which is awesome. There’s also a new face-tracking feature, which gives you the full 3D experience without you having to be right in front of the console. That makes the 3D more realistic and the picture much sharper. $200. http://www.nintendo.com/

assassin's creed chronicles chinaFor the gamer dad (to be used only after the kids go to bed): Asassin’s Creed Chronicles: China (Ubisoft)

We’re long-time fans of the Assassin’s Creed series, with its intricate plot that weaves through time, the mysterious assassins with their awesome hoodies and incredible skills, and the incredible action adventure game play. In a nutshell, it’s assassins vs. knights. But it’s really much more complex than that, as each game in the series feed into the next. The game style of Chronicles China is markedly different from most games in the line, as this is a 2.5D platformer, where jumping and doing all things assassin is a blast, intricately detailed, and wonderfully illustrated. This is the first in the Chronicles trilogy; India and Russia will follow. China rated T for teen and is a tad violent. Prices vary. http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/

 

#FathersDayGifts Winners of the MrDad Seal of Approval for #FathersDay 2015

Mr. Dad Seal of Approval

What do hair chalk, a cotton teepee, an Attila the Hun strategy game, a flock of go karts, pancake batter, and a silver urinal (yes, a urinal) have in common? Well, not much, except that they’re among the nearly 50 winners of the Father’s Day 2015 Mr. Dad Seal of Approval. Be sure to check out these great products and all the rest here.