Apps and sites that help kids give back

Donating to charity through text messages and websites is great, but kids may need something more interactive to help them understand how they're helping. Apps and sites can help families take direct action, learn about important causes, and nurture compassion. Aside from developing empathy and gratitude, helping others can boost kids' self-esteem and expand their worldview. From a trivia game that eases world hunger to stories about people in need, these apps and sites help kids do good.


App review: Tongo Music, a wonderful introduction to classical music for preschoolers and families

Parents need to know that Tongo Music - for kids and families introduces kids to instruments, music structure, and classical music. In all, kids can hear 15 short samples of musical masterpieces from Mozart to Tchaikovsky, played with 12 different musical instruments. And, kids can try their own hand at creating music with a digital keyboard, a collection of percussion instruments, and more. Because there's a lot of music in the app, it may take a long time to open the first time after downloading. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.


10 books to help kids understand the immigrant experience

Captivating stories of the immigrant and refugee experience can help kids understand what people go through when they move to a new country and start new lives. These novels and memoirs for kids 10 and under can help build empathy among readers, and kids from immigrant families can see reflections of their own struggles and triumphs.


Tips for talking to kids about the news

Shootings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, end-of-the-world predictions - even political coverage of current events - can be upsetting news for adults, not to mention kids. In our 24/7 news world, it's become nearly impossible to shield kids from distressing current events.


Game review: 'Horizon Zero Dawn,' exhilarating, 5-Star adventure with strong female protagonist

Parents need to know that "Horizon Zero Dawn" is a vast role-playing game (RPG) with moderate violence. Players assume the role of a female warrior who was cast out of her tribe at birth. She's clever, capable, and just, eventually respected by most people she meets. Fights - involving weapons such as bows and arrows, tripwire traps, and some unusual looking guns - are fast and frenetic, but most are against machines rather than living creatures. When players battle humans and animals, they see small splashes of blood with each successful hit. Parents should also note that spoken dialogue includes infrequent instances of mild profanity as well as occasional references to drinking and smoking.


Craft: Woolly pajaki chandelier

We're obsessed with pajaki ("pie-yonky") chandeliers! This Polish craft, traditionally made with colorful paper flowers, is the perfect foil for gray winter days. Spend a few hours helping your child make our woolly version with yarn and felt, and you'll both feel brighter!

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: 'Rock Dog,' animated comedy is old-fashioned and fun

Parents need to know that "Rock Dog" is an animated comedy about a dog named Bodi who dreams of being a musician. After a radio literally falls into his life, Bodi leaves his post as a guard dog in the mountains and heads for the big city. There's lots of comic action - a careening market cart, Bodi fighting a mighty grizzly bear, plus laser beams, bonks, chases, and captures - as well as some suspenseful sequences in which wolves attack a peaceful village of sheep. For kids who are comfortable with pretend vs. real violence, the mayhem is more slapstick than scary, including the blustery, exaggerated evil of wolf pack leader Linnux. Other than the peril/scary parts, there's little iffy content here ("twit" and "stupid" is as strong as the language gets). And the clear messages about perseverance, following your dreams, and teamwork are hard to miss.


Social Security: Set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically

Saving for the future is a vital part of ensuring a secure retirement. American Savings Education Council and America Saves coordinate the annual America Saves Week. Started in 2007, the week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.


Parents @ Play: 2017 Toy Fair trends

Every year at about this time, every toy, game, collectible, and indoor- or outdoor plaything goes on display at New York Toy Fair. And, as usual, your Parents@Play team fearlessly braved the frigid weather (although, this year it was practically balmy) to bring you a glimpse into this year's up-and-coming trends.


Ex-etiquette: A personal ex-etiquette experience

So that you, my readers, understand that I also face ex-etiquette dilemmas, here's an ex-etiquette issue I recently had to deal with myself. My daughter's father and I have been divorced for years but our daughter recently asked us both to travel from California to New York City to help her get settled in the next stage of her life. She confessed she was a little afraid to make the move alone and wanted both her parents there for moral support. Her dad and I get along fine so we agreed, but traveling with an ex presents interesting problems.


Keep your eyes on fireworks safety

Every Fourth of July, emergency departments see an influx of injuries caused by fireworks. Mayo Clinic experts say the hands, face and eyes are particularly vulnerable.
Courtesy: Mayo Clinic
Keep your eyes on fireworks safety 1:00

Keep your eyes on fireworks safety

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Coffee may help slow effects of aging

Check out gorgeous views from some of York County's best patio bars 1:25

Check out gorgeous views from some of York County's best patio bars

Community supports Old Pointe Elementary student fighting rare condition 1:08

Community supports Old Pointe Elementary student fighting rare condition