I am expanding my fantastic adventures series to include games and outdoor activities! Look forward to even more content and exciting things to do with your family.
Today I present Scribblenauts Unlimited, a video game for the Wii U console and PCs. What makes this video game a fantastic adventure? It’s educational, but so much fun your kids will forget they are learning to better use the English language.
A pig needs to be cleaned. Type in any object you can think of. In this case, perhaps a sponge, bucket, hose, soap? You name it, the game creates it. Need to fix a broken car? Just write in ‘Mechanic’ and one will pop right into the game world to fix the car. You can also add adjectives to any character to make them complete a task. For example add the adjective praying to a nun, and well, you’ll have a praying nun. Think of Mad Libs as an interactive video game. You approach different characters, objects or animals throughout the game. Each one needs your help. It is then up to you to use your imagination and knowledge of the English language to help!
You and your kids will have a blast helping out the citizens of Scribblenauts’ world, which is done in a colorful, vivid animation style.
The characters are fun to look at and the detail in the cities and backgrounds is visually pleasing.
Your kids will use their imaginations to create any object their heart desires. (No worries, there are vulgarity filters in place). And this, perhaps, is the strongest case for Scribblenauts Unlimited. Anything that gets your kids to think creatively is a plus. Being creative while also playing a game and staring at the TV? It’s the best of both worlds! Just don’t tell your kids that they are actually learning while playing!
Looking to stay in for the evening with the family? I stumbled upon this ad the other day and wanted to share it, as will be a great opportunity to have a memorable family movie night. Most of the films are from the 1990s or early 2000s, so there is a good chance it has been a long time since your family has seen some of these, if at all. Among some of the films being shown, I would strongly advise watching The Addams Family, Monster House, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Jumanji.
There will be a different movie every night at 8pm Eastern 5pm Pacific. Spend some quality time with the family, pop some popcorn and get ready for fantastic adventures!
Hook is the next entry in my fantastic adventures series. I would have written about this already, but it was such a huge part of my childhood I assumed everyone has seen this film. While it is popular, there are probably lots of young kids and families who have not seen it. So, I feel I need to get the word out on this amazing adventure! Hook is a great sequel to the traditional Peter Pan story. What would happen if Peter gave up Neverland to grow old with Wendy’s daughter? It turns out he would forget all about Neverland, the lost boys, and everything about being Peter Pan. And what would happen if Captain Hook made his way to Earth to kidnap the children of the adult Peter Pan? Join in the adventure as Peter rediscovers why being a kid is so much fun.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: If your kids are familiar with the story of Peter Pan, they will instantly recognize a lot of story elements, both from the book and stage play. Your children will feel like insiders and feel like the are in on some sort of secret.
Once the story transitions to Neverland, the sets and action are breathtaking, immediately sucking your kids into the world. Neverland has never been so real. Each of your children will immediately find a lost boy they like and relate to, creating an even greater immersion.
Imaginations will soar as your kids will immediately plan their own battle against the evil pirates, creating coconut swords and bamboo armor.
Of course, a land with no parents and no rules is an exciting prospect for any kid. This is a great film for sparking imaginations. There is a make believe feast, and lots of different “games”, which all require the classic kid talent of make-believe.
The acting is top notch from everyone involved. It is almost as if the actors knew they were making a masterpiece. Robin Williams seems a bit out of sorts in the beginning, but comes into his own as a grown up Peter Pan. Dustin Hoffman delivers the best performance of Captain Hook ever put on film. Oddly enough, Julia Roberts is the weakest link, so that tells you how great the acting is.
There is also something for parents to take home. Just the mere thought of losing your children is horrifying, but bonding with your children while rediscovering the fun of your youth is something that will call to your very essence.
Do not miss this masterpiece of imagination and adventure.
Today’s post in my Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment brings us to the late 1980s with a prehistoric twist. Denver, the Last Dinosaur was a children’s television cartoon which paired a group of modern California teens with a prehistoric dinosaur, Denver. The teens found a prehistoric egg on a visit to the La Brea tar pits and were surprised when it hatched and out came a dinosaur! The multicultural group of modern teens – Mario, Jeremy, Shades, Wally, Casey and little sister Heather – all sought to protect Denver from concert promoter Morton Fizback, who wanted to exploit Denver at various concert events.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: All of the kids in the group bring something different to the table. You have the jock, the extreme sports kid, the nerd, the jug head, and the annoying little sister. Your kids will quickly find one of the characters to relate to and follow through each episode’s adventure.
Denver, a green rock n roll dinosaur, provides most of the excitement and will get most of the laughs – mostly because he is a dinosaur. Most of the episodes ave great learning moments for your kids in that they deal with issues of responsibility, being environmentally conscious, and they deal with the greed associated with money. All of these topics are woven into the adventure and excitement of the episodes, so it does not seem forced or preachy.
Most importantly and best of all, each episode deals with friendship: how to get along, how to patch things up when someone gets hurt, and all of the joy and responsibility associated with great, lasting friendships.
Denver, the Last Dinosaur is available to own on DVD and available for free on youtube.com
It is somewhat fitting that the thirteenth entry in my fantastic adventures series is a bit of a troublemaker. The classic character Dennis the Menace made his live action film debut in 1993 in the film Dennis the Menace. The story branches out a bit from the Sunday comics and centers around Dennis’ hometown, which is known for its safety and security, being visited by a jewelry thief. Dennis, up to his usual pranks, ends up being kidnapped by the thief, who instantly regrets taking such a bratty kid hostage. You also get great interaction with Dennis and Mr. Wilson, as Dennis plays most of his pranks on the unsuspecting Mr. Wilson.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Aside from having a lot of fun watching Dennis’ pranks unfold, your kids will learn quite a few things along the way. Dennis learns that pranks have their consequences, and may even hurt the people you care about.
This film is a great way to introduce your kids to the great comedy of Walter Matthau. It is all family friendly fun that will have your kid laughing for days.
Another great teaching moment in this film deals with running away. I’m sure every kid has had at least one serious thought of running away from home. After Mr. Wilson gets upset at Dennis for pulling one too many pranks, Dennis runs away from home, only to be kidnapped by the evil, scary looking jewelry thief. The scenes with the jewelry thief (brilliantly played by a creepy looking Christopher Lloyd), may be a bit scary for the youngest kids in your home, but your youngsters will be too busy laughing at the jewelry thief and what Dennis does to him, that they will enjoy every moment of the film.
Out of all of the entertaining and tense moments in this film, the touching scenes between Dennis, Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Wilson are the ones that really stand out above the rest. They are heartwarming, truthful and a great way for your kids to see the value of friendships and loved ones.
Jack Frost is a 1998 movie starring Michael Keaton as a talking snowman. Well, okay, it’s more than that. Jack Frost is a singer who’s on the road most of the time so he can’t spend a lot of time with his son Charlie, although they love each other very much. When Jack dies in a car accident, Charlie becomes a very sad young man, until… Jack returns as a snowman! Now they can do all the things they’ve missed when Jack was human.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: The film deals with one major issue, a kid losing his father. If you have kids who have has this happen to them, this film can be a good coping tool, as the end of the movie deals with moving on and making peace with the fact that dad is never coming back.
Moving on to happier topics, this film also deals with what it is like to be a kid in junior high, and all of the alienation and awkwardness that comes along with that. However, this movie adds a very Christmas-y twist, as Charlie gets to spend quality time getting back at the bullies with the help of a giant snowman.
Charlie gets to spend extra time with his dad, who wasn’t there too much when he was alive. This not only leads to fun and adventure, it also provides the film with a lot of heart. This is one film that will tug at your heartstrings and let your kids experience a genuinely emotional experience about parents.
The puppet and CGI work all hold up very well, and the snowman really takes on a likable and believable personality. You may have missed this one, as it did not do too well in 1998, so give it a chance this Christmas and believe in magic once again.
Jack Frost is available to own on DVD or rent from Amazon or Netflix.
All I Want for Christmas is a 1991 film about a young boy, Ethan, and his sister, Hallie. Their parents divorced one year ago right around Christmas, leaving the kids longing for their family to get back together. It isn’t until Hallie goes to see Santa (“the real one. At Macy’s.”) that Ethan sees how much his sister really wants their parents back together. The two hatch a scheme to get their parents alone together on Christmas Eve through Christmas morning. Will it work, or will it drive their parents even further apart?
Why it is a fantastic adventure: For some reason, a young Thora Birch keeps coming up in my movie reviews. I guess it’s because she was such a great child actress. Once again, she turns in an adorable performance as the innocent, yet intelligent, little sister. Ethan Embry plays a convincing and caring older brother.
This film deals with two major issues. The first is the big brother, little sister bond. Your kids will certainly learn a thing or two about how to take care of their younger siblings. Ethan is constantly watching over Hallie and making sure that she is safe. In one scene, he distracts her from hearing another argument between their parents. He watches over her and makes sure that she does not run off alone in New York city. When she inevitably does, he drops everything he does, puts himself at risk, and runs to go find her. It is a great lesson for all of the little ones in your home.
The second issue is divorce. In 1991, divorce was still a sticking point that rarely got attention in family films. Today it is more accepted and commonplace to see the topic discussed openly in family entertainment. If you have yet to discuss the topic with your kids, this is a great place to start. It portrays the kids as content and still being kids, goofing off and enjoying life, but it also shows the private side of the kids’ lives and how the each deal with grief. Ethan watches old family videos and cries, while Hallie takes the more naïve approach of asking Santa to get them back together.
Finally, this film is not all sad stuff. There is a lot of action and adventure. When the kids try to get their parents back together, the hatch a fun plan full of pranks and little white lies. There are runaway mice, towed cars, diverted cabs and a late night dinner at the family diner. All in all, it is a grand scheme worthy of The Parent Trap and it will have your kids laughing and on the edge of their seats.
The film also provides some great Christmas scenery: a white, wintry Christmas tree, falling snow and trips to Macy’s.
All I Want for Christmas is available to own on DVD, or rent it from Amazon.
Fantastic Adventures, Writings , and Other Musings