DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge

DreamWorks recently launched a great new series exclusive to Netflix. Dragons: Race to the Edge takes place between the 1st and 2nd feature films – How to Train Your Dragon and How To Train Your Dragon 2. With an approximate five year timeline between the two movies, this series takes place about a year and a half before the How To Train Your Dragon 2 movie. The series was created in a way that it will not only gain new fans but also entertain existing fans of the franchise. The first season has 13 episodes now available to stream on all of your Netflix devices. These episodes all follow a general storyline, however there are stand alone episodes that focus in on each character or introduce a new dragon as well as new villains.

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Executive Producers Doug Sloan and Art Brown bring you a series that is fit for all ages. If you are a 5 year old who is amazed by the colors and sounds or a 13 year old who loves the Dragons and the action scenes it will grab the attention of all viewers. Dragons: Race to the Edge brings back almost the full cast from the featured films. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), leads the way throughout the action packed series with little life lessons for everyone added into each episode. The directors and executive producers both shared their interest in making this something for the whole family to be able to watch.

Last month I had the honor of going to Los Angeles to learn more about the Dragons: Race To The Edge Series. We were allowed to preview the first two episodes (Don’t worry I wont spoil it) as well as get a behind the scenes look at how a production like this is put on. The first season will be directed by 3 different directors who help share their point of views on the series as well as allowing insight on different adventures. The first two episodes were directed by Elaine Bogan (visit her site for sketches and stories from HTTYD) who started her journey back on the first featured film and made her way to the TV side. Speaking with her about the first two shows, she explained how important it was to kick off the new series ”the right way”.

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“These pilot episodes get to set the bar for the rest of the season.” They are the “Foundation of the Series” as she explains. Right off the bat we start the episode with suspense, adventure and find new ways to add in dragons and new villains. Bogan explains how the design team is able to “modify and design a new dragon or character” to fit within the story line. Dragons Race to the Edge will allow to us to “open up and create bigger season long story arc’s, each episode will teach the kids a lesson or connect to the next episode”. It took just over a year to create the first season with production with having as many as 9 episodes in the works at one time.

It was a great trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes, and have already begun watching the rest with my girls. So Grab The Popcorn, sit back and enjoy watching this all new series with your family. If you do not have Netflix, for $7.99 a month you can stream the DreamWorks Dragons Netflix Series as well as many other family friendly shows.

BrainChase Summer Learning Challenge Starts June 22nd!

It is the first Monday of Summer here at the Moscato household. Both girls slept in until nearly 9am… and then promptly began asking “what are we going to do today?” It has been storming literally all day long, so any plans for the pool or the beach were shot. Midge has been super excited about the BrainChase Challenge – a five week summer learning challenge to help kids stay entertained and engaged this Summer – that kicks off just three weeks from today! Already I can say those three weeks can’t come fast enough.

the sun stone

BrainChase is an online learning adventure that helps kids keep their brains engaged with activities that include reading, math, language and more. Brain Chase has partnered with the best online curriculum providers – Khan Academy, Rosetta Stone, myON, and Google Books – to provide a customized learning system for all kids 2nd-8th grades.  Since kids can lose up to two months of learning during the summer months, BrainChase is the perfect way to help your kids have fun this Summer all the while combating the Summer Brain Drain. This will help make their first few weeks of transitioning back to the school year easier next term. It’s totally a win-win. brain chase dashboard

I think the best part about BrainChase may be how flexible and easy it is to use. All you need is a high speed internet connection and you can literally play anywhere. Since I share custody with my exhusband, Midge can easily play at his house as well. Plus we have vacations planned, days at grandma’s… you know, a typical summer schedule. BrainChase works on the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari web browsers – you can even complete most of the tasks on a tablet, though the writing part would probably be easier on something with a keyboard 😉

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Alongside the regular pricing package ($199 for the first registration, and then $100 for each sibling), Brain Chase has now begun offering their premium pricing package ($249 for the first registration, and then $149 for each sibling). The premium package includes Brain Chase registration plus a Brain Chase-branded adventure backpack, a Brain Chase t-shirt and Sunstone of Cortés patch. Plus everyone gets three super cool Adventure Tools to help aid in the chase! Midge has been playing with her compass and decoder ring ever since they arrived! 

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Check out their brand new promo video and register your kids at BrainChase.com! The challenge begins just three weeks from today!

I Can Read: Reading with Chuck E. Cheese

I am so excited to share a fun new campaign just in time for the Summer! Chuck E Cheese has teamed up with HarperCollins Publishers – the second largest book publisher in the world – for weekly I Can Read: Reading With Chuck E. events at all Chuck E. Cheese’s locations in May and June! Every Tuesday at 11am and 6pm Chuck E. Cheese and a cast member will lead the reading of the selected book of the month. Last week I joined some girlfriends and their little and headed to Chuck E Cheese for lunch. The Teen had an orthodontist appointment so she got to tag along… and I believe had just as much fun as the kids did.

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For the month of May, HarperCollins has chosen Danny and the Dinosaur, the story of a boy who meets a prehistoric playmate in a museum. The dinosaur comes to life and the two friends encounter extraordinary adventures together. I had never heard of that book before, so I enjoyed piling up with the kids to listen to the story. Chuck E began sitting next to his team member friend, but about half way through he came to sit with us… the kids absolutely loved it!

chuck e cheese reading program

In June, Reading with Chuck E. will feature A Green Green Garden. Little Critter and his family plant and grow their own fruits and vegetables to prepare a delicious dinner. Both books are members of the “I Can Read!” series, the premier line of beginning readers books that are approved for all ages.

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In addition to weekly reading sessions at the restaurant, Chuck E. Cheese’s wants to reward young bookworms for reading everyday by providing 5 free tokens to guests that keep track of their reading through the Reading Rewards Calendar, which can be downloaded from chuckecheese.com. Once the calendar is full, guests can bring the print out in store to redeem their prize.

reading calendar

After the kids were finished reading we ordered lunch and played games… for nearly three hours. Hey, we are all big kids really right? And with literally dozens of games to choose from, even the biggest kids can find themselves entertained for hours. The place was super clean and the food was really really good – we all had a great time.

chuck e cheese

Even Chuck E stayed and hung out in the game room with all of us playing games and playing peek-a-boo around the game machines. (It’s tough to hide behind stuff with ears like those…) He even joined in with some of the arcade games and I have to admit, when I turned the corner and saw this, I knew it was a mouse after my own heart.

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If you are looking for a super fun way to beat the heat this Summer, head to your local Chuck E Cheese for the I Can Read program! It’s a great way to spend a day just relaxing and being a kid.

*GIVEAWAY*

Ready to win? Two lucky MoscatoMom readers will win the set of two books being featured by Chuck E Cheese and HarperCollins to enjoy at home any time you want! You can enter using the RaffleCopter widget below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Make Bathtime More Fun with SoapSox!

I remember vividly a complete and total meltdown by The Teen as a toddler when I told her that her beloved “BearBear” was not allowed to bathe with her after they had played outside all day. The wailing that he “needed a bath” (which was entirely true) rang through the house, followed by cries when she put it together that he would actually get that bath from the very scary washing machine. I eventually gave in, allowed BearBear to get in the tub with her… which only resulted in wails at bedtime when he was still too wet to go to then go to bed with her an hour later.

This is why Moms need wine sometimes.

When I was approached a few weeks ago about reviewing SoapSox – the next generation of washcloths for kids – I happily accepted, remembering that day and wanting to save every other Mom from that same fate.

soap sox

SoapSox are soft, cuddly characters that hold your bar or liquid soap and suds up for bath time fun. Simply “feed” your favorite SoapSox critter with your favorite soap, wet with warm bathwater, squeeze a few times and voila! Your soapy pal is ready for a good scrub down! With nine SoapSox to choose from, every child will find a favorite!

Check out how they work in this awesome video:

We received a collection of these little guys and I have to admit… they are adorable. And even though my girls are past the wailing about bath time stage, that didn’t stop either of them from arguing over who was going to take a bubble bath with their SoapSox first. Midge chose the purple hippo “Harper” while The Teen wanted “Scorch” the dragon. They told Mike he should keep the Shark on his desk because of his love for sharks and SharkTank – which SoapSox was featured on last season. In fact the shark’s name is “Tank”- which we thought was absolutely awesome.

soapsox harper

Every SoapSox is “stuffed” with an antimicrobial sponge on the inside and covered with soft yet durable polyester terry cloth on the outside so it can easily be popped in the washer and dryer. SoapSox also can provide a sense of security for children who are reluctant to take a bath.  A child can take their SoapSox critter with them anywhere—from playtime, to bath time to nighttime.  They never have to be apart!  SoapSox also won the 2014 Innovation Award from JPMA. 

SoapSox can be found at Nordstrom, Buy Buy Baby, Bed Bath & Beyond and many other stores around the country and retail for $14.95.  For more information visit www.soapsoxkids.com.

*GIVEAWAY*

Want to win your very own SoapSox? Only lucky MoscatoMom reader will receive a free surprise SoapSox to make bathtime easier in your household! Just enter using the RaffleCopter widget below! Good luck!

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BrainChase: The Cure For Summer Brain Drain

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We are down to just two weeks left of school here at the Moscato Household. I am fairly confident that I am even more excited about Summer than the girls are. No alarm for three months?!! Yes, please! But what I am already finding interesting is how different the girls school lives are right now. The Teen has been doing more studying than I have seen her do all year getting ready for the finals and EOCs that seem to be happening daily. It’s like there is one big final push right here at the end of the year. Midge on the other hand… is watching movies and having Field Day. Now, I am not complaining – goodness knows I adore Midge’s teacher this year and equally adore the school… it just worries me that they seem already kinda “done” learning and I worry about the “Summer Brain Drain” starting already. That is why I am counting down the days until June 22nd when the Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge begins!

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Brain Chase is a five week Summer Learning Challenge that keeps kids engaged and entertained while making sure to keep key skills like reading, writing, and math in the forefront of their minds! You’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it” right? Well did you know that kids can lose up to two months of learning during the summer? Talk to any teacher and they will tell you the entire first month of the new school year is trying to get kids to remember what they forgot over summer vacation. With Brain Chase kids complete fun challenges in as little as one hour a day to keep all of those vital skills active.

brain chase dashboard

This year’s challenge is titled Brain Chase: The Sunstone of Cortés. Challengers will participate in five weekly challenges to find the treasure of the SunStone. You can check out their cool interactive dashboard for a sneak peek in to what is to come. Check out the official trailer to meet the characters and learn more about the Brain Chase Challenge:

But, this isn’t just fiction—there’s a real treasure buried somewhere on Earth. It’s a gold-plated, mechanical device hiding a key to a nearby safety deposit box containing a $10,000 college scholarship fund. Each day challengers will have the chance to log in and pinpoint where they think the buried treasure is based on the clues from the chase. If you’re the first to solve the riddle within a two-mile radius, we’ll fly you and a chaperone to the treasure site to claim the treasure.

the sun stone

As a bonus, all Brain Chase registrants will now have the opportunity to choose to participate in a language module as part of their online academic work. The language module, if selected, will replace the writing module. Students will be required to complete 2 lessons (a total of a little over an hour) each week in order to fulfill their language requirement and unlock the next episode. Students will be allowed to choose from 30+ languages when they register, and will have a week at the beginning of the program in which to switch languages if they prefer. Rosetta Stone will be part of the all-inclusive pass to the best online curriculum providers that comes with Brain Chase registration.

teachersBrainChase is excited to reward teachers for their help in spreading the word about their Summer Learning Challenge as well. No one knows how bad Summer Brain Drain is more than a teacher, so BrainChase is offering a referral program for teachers to help them earn school supplies for the upcoming school year. Free school supplies plus a lack of brain drain?!! Sounds like the recipe for a great start to the school year! Check out the Teacher Referral Program here.

Midge is already registered and could not be more excited about joining in the Brain Chase Challenge. You can enroll your children now to secure their spot. Regular pricing is just $199 but Brain Chase has a new Premium Package which includes the Brain Chase registration plus a Brain Chase-branded adventure backpack, a Brain Chase t-shirt and Sunstone of Cortés patch! Each challenger will receive awesome adventure items to help with the chase as well.  Remember our seeds…

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Check out BrainChase.com to register and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more clues as the start dates get near!