First Lady Obama Seeks Apps for Healthy Kids, Are You Up for the Challenge?

First Lady Michelle Obama and the USDA has launched a competition for developers, game designers and students to develop the most fun and engaging tools and games that will encourage children, specifically “tweens” (ages 9-12) to eat better and be more physically healthy and active.

Apps for Healthy Kids aims to halt the increasing rate of obesity among children which have tripled in the past 30 years which may shorten the expect lifespan of chilren.

If you’re up for the challenge, the Apps for Healthy Kids  is requiring that any tools and games that you will develop be built based on USDA nutrition dataset which is available through the Open Government Initiative. These datasets provide information on total calories, calories from “extras” and MyPyramid food groups for over 1,000 commonly eaten foods.

So here’s how you can enter the contest:

During the competition submission period (March 10 – June 30, 2010), first register here (registration is free) and read the complete Official Rules and Questions and Answers. After you register you must verify your email address via the registration email sent to the email entered in the registration form. You will then be able to enter a submission. Fill out the submission form on the submit application tab, including your submission title, text description, link to game or tool, data set(s) used, and whether you are submitting in the “tool” or “game” category. A picture is optional but helpful. Be sure to read the terms and conditions, and if you agree, check off the box, and submit!

Finally, the prize, not much at $40,000 but hey, it’s for a good cause anyway.

Tell Your Kids “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” via a Cool iPhone App

Aside from being a very useful all-around mobile phone for business professionals, students and your average joe’s, the iPhone is also very child-friendly.  My 5 year old daughter loves using her mother’s iPhone 3G to listen to music, play kiddie games and even take photos.

I’m pretty sure  my daughter as well as the million of kids who are allowed by their parents to use their iPhones would love this new iPhone app - “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Yes folks, it’s the classic Christmas tale from Dr. Seuss getting a fresh treatment by way of a cool iPhone app.

The good thing is, it’s not only just your ordinary kiddie iPhone game because it is sort of an interactive ebook as well. Your kids could learn about this classic tale by letting the app read the story to them or they can read them on their own.

The app is also an educational tool for kids. They can tap on an item on the screen and listen to how it’s name is pronounced as well as see the word itself. The app also allows panning and zooming on the content of the ebook through touch gesture – hence the interactivity part.

When you’re kid choose to let the app read the ebook, each of the words are highlighted – an effective way of teaching kids some language lessons.

Ok before this post starts to sound like an iPhone app review, let me end here.

If you’ve got kids whom you think will enjoy this app, you can grab it from the iTunes Apps Store for $3.99.  A bit higher than your usual $0.99 iPhone app, but is definitely much cheaper than standard ebooks you find at Amazon.

Predict Your Baby’s Gender With Stork101

My name is Andrew G.R. My name is NOT DR. Andrew G.R. I feel it’s important to make that differentiation before I launch into a blog post that centers around conception.

I’ve seen the Web come along a long way over the years, but are we really at the point where the potential gender of your child can be calculated?

With $24.99 to burn, it seems anything is possible!

Stork101 makes the claim that their algorithm can predict, with 100% accuracy, the gender of your un-conceived child. However, the Website is not liable if they get the gender wrong.

Before you login to Paypal, the creators want you to know the following:

- You can test it before you buy
- It’s based on medical research
- Totally non-evasive
- 40 years of accurate predictions

How does it work? I tuned out after I read something about “menstruation” cycles. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is a worthwhile product.

As always, your feedback is welcomed!

KidZui launches Web browser for kids

kidzui KidZui launches Web browser for kids
Admittedly, the online world is cluttered with contents not suitable for kids. Now, there is a Web browser entirely dedicated for kids between the ages 3 to 12 years old, KidZui.com.

This downloadable browser contains more than 500,000 Websites, images, games, and videos independently reviewed by teachers and parents so kids can surf the net free from pornography and other malicious contents.

KidZui also has a patent-pending technology called KidRank which identifies what kids consider cool in general, a potent tool which might help bridge the gap between parents and children.

There are other many features included in this browser such as ability to create personal avatar, search by categories, watch videos in full screen, tagging, and share contents with friends.

Unfortunately, it’s not free. Though you can download the KidZui browser free for 30 days, parents have to pay subscription fee of $9.95 per month or $99 annually.

Cost and safety top priorities among parents this holiday

As expected, most moms worry about cost and safety as part of their holiday shopping plans. I guess that’s the reason many people say mothers know best.

According to Nielsen Online, 20 percent of online discussions among parents about their kids’ holiday wish lists focus on cost. They are so very concerned about budget and how to avoid excessive spending on gifts.

Because there were many product recalls this year, moms can’t help but be very anxious about safety. Ten percent of discussions mentioned toy recalls, pushing many readers to seek out domestic products to “play it safe.”

How can they avoid overspending? Nielsen Online director of research methodology Kate Niederhoffer said, “Heading to the stores with a plan to buy specific products appears to be their solution to prevent excess shopping and impulse purchases.

As bonus info, Nielsen Online shares the leading retailers as of the week ending November 25th.
nielsen online Cost and safety top priorities among parents this holiday

Read full details

Majority of online shoppers will not buy toys made in China

pricegrabber Majority of online shoppers will not buy toys made in ChinaTraumatized by the recent toy calls, a new survey by online comparison shopping site PriceGrabber among 2,000 online shoppers shows that 69 percent will not purchase any toys manufactured in China

Sixteen percent will purchase products from China as long as the toys are not painted and do not contain magnets. About 73 percent of survey respondents stated that it is important that the products they purchase are made in the United States.

Moreover, 71 percent say it is important to them to purchase ecofriendly products this holiday season. It basically means better business this holiday season for the struggling U.S. manufacturers.

NoodleNet a fun interactive site for kids

noodle NoodleNet a fun interactive site for kidsNoodleNet, is an award-winning computer program that provides a safe online environment for children to explore the wonders of the Internet without putting them at risk from online predators, unwanted pop-ups or accidental access to inappropriate content.

The program delivers high-quality, age-appropriate links and reinforces classroom activities with fun, educator-approved links for children ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-11 and is available on a monthly or annual subscription basis.

Kids will love NoodleNet’s links to interactive, action-packed, fun websites, and parents can trust that it will stimulate their imaginations and improve reading, math and critical thinking skills.

“By creating a virtual ‘gated community’ that keeps children in and inappropriate material out, NoodleNet assists parents by providing a safe online learning environment that they can customize and control,” explained Michael Callahan, President and COO of NoodleNet

myNOGGIN.com combines preschool curriculum-based learning and gaming

mynoggin myNOGGIN.com combines preschool curriculum based learning and gamingNickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group continues the expansion of its casual gaming experiences for kids and families with the launch of myNOGGIN, a personalized, premium subscription-based service for preschoolers and their parents.

Featuring curriculum-based learning through game play, and starring kids’ favorite Nick Jr. and NOGGIN characters, the advertising-free service provides preschoolers with core educationalbuilding blocks through fun and entertaining games.

It is designed to closely follow kids’ school curriculum and aims to helps children learn all of the major skills from preschool through
grade one (ages 3 to 6). As children play the levels of each game, the site uniquely adapts to their individual skill levels.

The premium service has three different subscription packages: $5.95 for a 12 month commitment; $7.95 for a six-month commitment; and $9.95 for a month-to-month commitment.

DivideTheRide.com helps parents in carpool scheduling

dividetheride DivideTheRide.com helps parents in carpool schedulingDivide The Ride is a newly launched carpooling website designed to help busy parents by creating carpool calendars based on their schedules and driving availability.

It aims eliminates the time, effort and often confusion that can go along with traditional carpool scheduling.

It utilizes web based technology and is remarkably fast, easy, and free of charge to use. Most importantly, Divide The Ride is safe
and secure.

Getting started is simple. Parents choose families they know to join their carpool. Once carpool members are onboard, all participants enter their driving availability and Divide The Ride creates a carpool schedule for them quickly. The carpool schedule is emailed to everyone in the group along with text messages and email reminders.

Is your child a cyrberbully?

cyberbullying1 Is your child a cyrberbully? A research conducted by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center among 1500 young people ages 10 to 17 across the nation has revealed that 1 in 4 (27%) teenagers are cyberbullies and 6% harass or bully others online frequently.

“Youth who harass others online are twice as likely to have conflict with their parents. It’s important to involve parents in Internet safety efforts, but it’s important also to engage teenagers,” said Dr. Michele Ybarra, the principal author of the study.

There is a Website called Cyberbully411.org for teens involved in Internet harassment and provides roadmap to thwarting teen cyberbullying.

Recently, public concern has focused on accounts of children and teenagers being sexually solicited and harassed on social networking sites. Some politicians and lawmakers are advocating measures to restrict children and teenagers’ access to these sites as a means of preventing sexual exploitation of young Internet users.