Holiday 2006 winners

Piano Wizard (Allegro Rainbow)
Piano Wizard is an amazingly simple family video game that can teach anybodyto play the piano and read music. The graphics are engaging and at the beginning levels easy enough for a three-year-old. You don’t have to be a musician (or even have any musical knowledge or ability at all) to sit down with your child and spend hours learning together. But Piano Wizard is so fun that you may find yourself putting the kids to be a little early so you can play by yourself…. Ages 3-100.


Learning Cents Bank (
LearningCents Bank is a great way for Dad to teach his children about money, and we’re not just talking about getting rich. This bank shows kids how to divide their allowance into three categories: spending, saving, and charity. There’s even a Hebrew version with tzedakah(charity). Ages



Lonpos 303 Pyramid and Rectangle Game (
If you’re a Tetris player, you’ll understand why we chose this game. It’s challenging, fun, and completely addictive. Our tester’s seven-year old son embarrassed his parents by beating them several times. Even so, we like this puzzle game for the entertaining way it exercises the gray matter, helps with math and creative-thinking skills, and keeps the family playing together. Ages age 8 ‘


Don’t Quote Me board game (Wiggles 3D, Inc.)
This may be one of the best family games we’ve seen in a while. Dad and everyone else in the family will enjoy this “game of skill, knowledge, and really, really good guesses.” Ages 10 and




All the Colors CD (Ira Marlowe)
Ira Marlowe’s music has something we at like a lot: smarts. Not only is the music original, fun, and appealing, the lyrics don’t underestimate the intelligences of their listeners. All ages.




What a Way to Play CD (Debi Derryberry)
If Debi Derryberry’s voice sounds familiar, it could be because she’s the voice of cartoon character Jimmy Neutron, among others. As it turns out, whether she’s singing her own compositions or interpreting a classic like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” Debi has a sweet voice of her very own, just perfect for the younger set. A great sing-along for dads and their children. Ages


Journey to Fatherhood(Life’s Little Journals, LLC)This interactive journaling software is one of the best gifts Dad can give his child. Starting with pregnancy, Dad can record his feelings and thoughts every step of the way, and create a book about his child’s birth. Intuitive programming and insertable graphics lets even the most illiterate computer user feel like a pro. Recommended for all expectant and new fathers.



Passenger Plane, Racers Tiny Turbo Garage, and Motion Power Batcave (not pictured) (Lego).
Chances are, Legos have been around longer than you have, and you have plenty of fond memories of playing with the simple colored plastic blocks. Much as we still love the ones we grew up with, our hats are off to Lego for developing these hands-on toys that every father and child can enjoy together. It’s not just about building, it’s about imagination and that feeling of accomplishment when you’ve created a masterpiece. Ages

My Best Day (Trout Music)
Keith and Ezra are skilled musicians who reminded more than one Mr. Dad judge of the Grateful Dead (Workingman’s Deadin particular). Fire this one up and before you know it you’ll be singing along together, in the house, in the car, in the bathtub. These talented musicians are two-time Grammy nominees. Take a listen and you’ll understand



You Are My Little Bird, by Elizabeth Mitchell and Whoever Shall Have Some Good Peanuts by Sam Minton (Smithsonian Folkways)
These two CDs represent the best in music for children. You’ll find yourself singing along, talking to your kids about the good ‘ol days, and you may evey sneak a listen when your kids aren’t home. All ages.


Toddler Toons and Action Bible Toons (ThingamaKid)
Both of these CD/DVDs bring values-packed content, covering everything from Noah’s Ark to Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho. When Dad and the kids need some down time, these are wonderful, soothing entertainment. When everyone’s feeling a little peppier, there’s always the karaoke option. Ages 2-5.



Big Sunday football game (Big Sunday)
What better way to bond with your children than over on the gridiron. This board game has all the excitement and action of the real thing, but without the injuries. Add this one to your game night roster. Age




BaffleGab word game (BaffleGab, LLC)
Even though this storytelling game is officially recommended for children ages 8-12, it’s a game you and your spouse will find yourselves playing long after the kids hit the sack. Teachers using Baffle Gab say the game improves vocabulary, expands students’ grasp of sentence structure and word usage, provides writing, spelling, reading and math practice, and even fosters self esteem. We think that’s great, but most of all, we think this terrific game is just plain fun. Ages


Mirror-aculous Art Activities (Ooz & Oz)
Dizzy, my head is spinning’this creative art kit will mesmerize you, um, I mean, your child, helping you create truly sensatinal optical illusions. Ages 5 and




Better Surf Diaperbag/Backpack (Surfer Baby)
This may be the perfect diaper bag for Dad. Not a flower or lamb or a fluffy bunny to be found, just a blue or red surfer design on a gray background. Completely practical and comfortable, it’s got a detachable fanny pack, a bitchin’ diaper changing pad, a cell phone holder, and, after you’ve changed your last diaper, you can use this pack as a beach


Not every product or service we evaluated met our strict criteria of helping dads get or stay involved with their children and improve the quality of father-child relationships. But there were a number of entries that we felt were worth noting.





1-2-3 Magic, by Thomas Phelan





Medibag (Me4Kidz)






Dedicated Dads: Stepfathers of Famous People and Famous Fantastic Stepfathers, both by Rusty Hancock