Giveaway and review: Magic Sketch innovative art pad by Boogie Board

My eight-year-old step-grandson loves to draw. And color. And craft. And create.

So when I received a Magic Sketch from Boogie Board free for review, Bud was the perfect product reviewer for this post.

What's a Magic Sketch? It's pretty much the coolest thing ever, Bud deduced after a few minutes with it. Technically, though, the Magic Sketch is a kid-proof, waterproof, innovative art pad that provides a new and exciting screen on which kids can draw, learn, and play.

Then erase with the push of a button and repeat. Again and again.

magic sketch

The Magic Sketch LCD-display tablet retails for $29.95 and comes with...

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Heat-beater books for readers of all ages, from Candlewick Press

As sweltering summer temps currently scorch much of the United States, many folks — from babes to boomers and beyond — have staked out spots in the shade or indoors in front of the air conditioner (or fan, for poor souls like myself with no A/C) to while away the hours.

Candlewick Press offers a cool collection of compelling and creative books for readers of all ages to help beat the heat — and boredom — of these hottest days of summer.

Here are some of my recent favorites, courtesy Candlewick:

shaun the sheep 

Shaun the Sheep: Pranks A Lot! Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm by Martin Howard, illustrated by Andy Janes  ($4.99 paperback, ages 5-8) Shaun the Sheep gives Blitzer the Sheepdog a mustache, and Blitzer reciprocates the prank by painting Shaun pink. But the gags and giggles really get...

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Homestar Original Home Planetarium: Sega Toys moves stars from the sky to your ceiling

When my daughters were young, my husband and I used to take them camping to a family spot far from the city, far from city lights. One of our favorite activities while out in the wilderness was to stare up at the night sky and look for constellations and shooting stars.

homestar original

The Homestar Original Home Planetarium (which I received free for review) provides the same experience. For the most part. We can't build a campfire indoors, and we thankfully don't hear packs of coyotes off in the not-too-far distance. We do, though, see 60,000 twinkling stars — some of them shooting, even — plus constellations galore, right on...

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ASUS MeMO Pad 7 LTE tablet: A super tool for Intel's Family Skill Swap and more

Chances are your grandchildren know a whole lot more than you. At least about some high-tech gadgets and games and such.

You know a whole lot more than them, though, on other skills. Things like handicrafts and cooking crafts, playing musical instruments and more.

Considering the wealth of knowledge on their part and yours—albeit in different areas—how cool might it be to swap some of that knowledge, share those skills? Intel encourages grandparents to do exactly that by inviting a favorite youngster to swap skills between the generations.

Intel created an invitation for such swapping, something they call a Family Skill Swap. It looks like this:

Intel Family Skill Swap 

Click on that graphic for a PDF version you can print and pass along to a grandchild or two...

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Pick and Draw game: Artistic fun for all ages, with a group or on one's own

A deck of cards plus a pencil (with an eraser) and paper are all that's needed for hours of fun — as long as the cards are from the Pick and Draw game.

The Pick and Draw game, created by picture book illustrator Rich Davis, makes me think of those painting places where a group of soon-to-be artists receive the very same instruction yet create fabulously unique paintings, each masterpiece just like the others... but different.

pick and draw game

That's the idea behind Pick and Draw, only, the creative result is a comical cartoon. Funky...

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6 things in 6 months: An abbreviated bucket list

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

How many times have we learned the hard way the calamity of placing all our hope for success of one thing or another on one single event, one single person, one single plan? It's folly, for sure.

bicycle ride

Which is why I've recently chosen to apply the "not all in one basket" idea to bucket lists.

I have more than one...

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10 Disney FROZEN printable activities


Courtesy Disney, here are ten Disney FROZEN activities to share with the kids.

Click each image to open the .pdf file for that activity, then print or save on your computer. (Note: The memory cards activity is a six-page file, so it takes a bit. Spot the Difference is also fairly large, though just one page.)

FROZEN activity


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