Coding for children with Cubetto

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Cubetto, the award winning, Montessori-approved coding toy for children ages 3 and up, is now available for purchase worldwide on www.primotoys.com.

Created by Primo Toys, Cubetto is a screen-less programming system, powered by a revolutionary coding language made of colorful blocks that lets children write their first computer programs. By placing the blocks in different patterns on the control panel, children create sequences of instructions that program the robot’s movement.

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In the process, they develop computational thinking skills that help them understand the basic principles of coding — all of this, in a very age-appropriate way that respects a child’s natural way of learning. My daughter had the opportunity to test out the Cubetto a few months back and loved that she could created the robots path all by herself and was eager to complete a challenge by sending Cubetto through mini adventures.

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Cubetto provides gender-neutral play that boosts a child’s creativity, critical thinking, spatial awareness and communication skills. Plus, no noisy bells and whistles or bright flashing light, but still a very engaging toy for the littles.

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Cubetto is available for purchase on www.primotoys.com for $225, or $245 when bundled with the Cubetto Activity Pack, which offers four additional world maps and matching story books. (Activity Pack priced $65 if sold separately).

This post is part of a sponsored campaign for Primo Toys. I received compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own.

Subway Therapy in Union Square Station

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“When people are overflowing with emotion, help channel their energy into something good”, this is what Matthew “Levee” Chavez has been doing underground at Union Square Station since the 2016 election results blindly shocked New York City. Everyday since November 8th, 2016, people are are making their way to Union Square to participate in Subway Therapy, where a collection of post-it notes expressing hope and support for one another has been growing day-by-day. It is a wonderful example of the diverse community and the peaceful solidarity we have in NYC and how our community has become stronger together over this past week.

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Timeline of Subway Therapy

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
It’s election day! I’m going to be somewhere in the 6th ave stop on the L train. I imagine people will have lots to say about the election, and I’m excited to hear it.

Wednesday, Nov 9, 2016
Today is a stressful day for many people all over the world. I am going to give them an opportunity to channel their energy into something positive and inclusive.

Thursday, November 10, 2016
The last several days have been pretty stressful. I’ll have post-its so people can express how they are feeling.

Friday, November 11, 2016
I will be at my table with materials so people can express their hopes and fears in a safe space.

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Come see what has been making people feel good in a stressful time. Express your feelings in a neutral, inclusive, and non-partisan space.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
As the week continues I want to encourage people to come out and share their messages of love and inclusion with the world.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Come share your message with the world and chat with me about the future. If I have put away the post-its at the main location, make sure to check out another more permanent wall at Union Square Station.

By last count tens of thousands people have participated in Subway Therapy over the past week.

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Subway Therapy is about making people smile, laugh, and feel less stress. If someone needs to get something off their chest or has a burning question, Matthew “Levee” Chavez is happy to be there for them. He believes that people grow and learn through dynamic conversation. In reference to the 2016 election he says, “Instead of talking at each other, I encourage everyone to talk with each other. America is a country that is diverse. It is what makes our country great. Embrace that, even if it means putting differences aside so we can learn and grow with each other.”  To check out a collection of Post-Its that have been collected and scanned click on his post called Channeling the Fire.

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Akram Khan’s Chotto Desh, at the New Victory Theater

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Chotto Desh, Akram Khan Company’s first piece of dance theater for family audiences, makes its New York Premiere at The New Victory Theater from November 4-13, 2016. I took my six year old son to see Chotto Desh, this past weekend and he really enjoyed the experience. The story was easy for my son to follow, through the narrative, music and dance. The length was also perfect for a young child’s attention span, with a 55 minute running time, and no intermission.

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My son especially liked the interactive animation section where the Grandmother’s fable of The Honey Hunter, comes to life on a bewitching adventure. This modern day fairy tale reveals what can happen when someone interferes with nature’s rhythm. It teaches children to respect and appreciate the environment.

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“Photo courtesy of The New Victory Theater, credit: Richard Haughton”

Chotto Desh, meaning ‘small homeland’ is full of meaningful dance and exciting movement. The show is inspired by stories from choreographer Akram Khan’s life and his relationship with his father. In Chotto Desh, the dancer appears as many different characters throughout the story. In one section of the performance, he becomes his father by drawing eyes on the top of his head. This part thoroughly entertained the kids.

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“Photo courtesy of The New Victory Theater, credit: Richard Haughton”

Chotto Desh is a heartwarming story about our connections to the past, family and finding your own path. It celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the modern world and promises to be a magical, thrilling and poignant dance theatre experience for families to enjoy together.

chotto-deshAfter the show my son got to meet and have his program signed by Dennis Alamanos from the Akram Khan Company. They talked about hip-hop and breakdancing.

dennis-alamanos-from-akramkhan-companyHe then got to create his own interactive projected animation, with the family activities after the show. Plus learn about his own family cultural, by placing a tag where is family is from. Because, I am 50% Finn we placed our pin on Finland.

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Public Performance Schedule: 10 performances

Friday, November 4 at 7pm
Saturday, November 5 at 2pm / 7pm
Sunday, November 6 at 12pm / 5pm
Friday, November 11 at 7pm
Saturday, November 12 at 2pm / 7pm
Sunday, November 13 at 12pm / 5pm

Chotto Desh has a running time of 55 minutes with no intermission and is recommended for everyone ages 7 and up.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Chotto Desh at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd Street) are $10, $13, $18 or $25 for Members based on seat locations, with full price tickets starting at $16. Tickets are available online (NewVictory.org) and by telephone (646.223.3010). The New Victory Theater box office (209 West 42nd Street) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-7pm.

Thank you New Victory Theater for providing tickets to My Strange Family for review purposes.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Returns this Halloween Weekend

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Are you a super fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas? Well this Halloween weekend, Friday, October 28th – Monday, October 31st, you can celebrate the Halloween holiday with Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie and more as Disney’s beloved classic THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS returns for a limited engagement exclusively in over 200 Regal cinemas locations nationwide!

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The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the “real world.” When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life – he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.

Tickets are now on sale at select Regal theaters. Participating theaters include locations in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington. For tickets and information, visit: Regal Entertainment Group.

Is the Disney Memory Maker PhotoPass worth it?

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After using the Disney Memory Maker twice on our last two trips to Walt Disney World, I can say hands down, it was one of the best purchases made on our trip (thanks to Disney Social Media Moms one Memory Maker was a gift). We probably took way more photos than usual, to take full advantage of this very useful service. Besides getting great iconic WDW shots, we were able to get numerous family photos, a rarity for My Strange Family. My kids also react differently to the photographers, who were able to capture some very special Disney family vacation memories.

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Meeting Mickey at Disney Social Media Moms

With all of our hundreds of Disney PhotoPass photos, mixed in with the hundreds of photos I took using my iPhone, I created a a sweet photo memory book. The kids love looking through the book and remembering all of the magical times they had at Walt Disney World. The Magic Shots were their favorite because characters and animation were added to their Disney photos. I should have printed two books so they could each have one (next time!).

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With the Memory Maker you have full access to all of your Disney PhotoPass photos and videos for one price $169, if you are a planner and like to save money, you can save $20 by buying the Memory Maker a least 3 days before your trip.

Within minutes of taking your photo you can download them like magic straight to your phone from the My Disney Experience app, and share them to family and friends on social media. Plus you can take pics for up to 30 days after the first time you download a photo to your account. However, then Memory Maker photos must be downloaded within 45 days of the first day you download pics. So, if you time it right, you could get up to 75 days of use out of the Memory Maker.

Memory Maker includes:

  • Unlimited digital downloads of all your Disney PhotoPass photos and videos
  • Select Attraction photos and videos
  • Select Character dining photos
  • Discounts on prints of your photos
  • Magic Shots – featuring Disney Characters and more, added to your photos
  • fDigital borders and stickers to personalize your photos

Now to get Disneyland on board with the unlimited Memory Maker, so we can take more magical photos on our next trip to California.

My Strange Family purchased one Memory Maker for our February WDW trip, and were gifted one for attending the Disney Social Media Moms conference in May. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Stone Soup, a musical play for all ages

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The play, Stone Soup, is showing through November 13th at the intimate Players Theater. The playwright has taken a well-known children’s story, and written a musical that explores the themes of the story of sharing and cooperation as well as loss due to war. The story is easily understood through the song and actions of the cast members who are engaging, clearly enjoying their roles. Soldier 2 is especially fun.

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The music is provided by three percussionist live in front of the stage. This was interesting for the audience, especially for children, because we could see which instruments were making the various sounds.

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Before the performance, everyone can participate in a free interactive arts workshop creating quilt squares to be made into a quilt for donation to a shelter. During this time the theater hosts also talk about how the show is brought to life on stage, and what is needed to bring a musical together.

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After the show you will get a chance to take photos with the cast in the lobby. You might also take the time to go down the stairs to view the classic posters from artists who have performed at the Café Wha? next-door. There is also a collage of famous 60s and 70s musicians.

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If you are looking for a nice place to eat before or after the show – the village is full of great options. Here are a few suggestions:

Monte’s Trattoria – 97 Macdougal St – Very traditional
Minetta Tavern – 113 Macdougal St – May need a reservation
La Lanterna di Vittorio – 129 Macdougal St – The biggest Calzone ever
Cuba – 222 Thompson St – Tasty and fun with flair
The Olive Tree – 117 MacDougal Great for families

My Strange Family was provided complimentary tickets to attend Stone Soup, all opinions expressed here are our own.