Ages 3+

Gears! Gears! Gears! Space Explorers Building Set

The endless variations for stacking and interlacing the chunky cogs encourages repeat play, all while building problem solving and design skills as you talk to your kids about the solar system and outer space.






SmartGames Snow White

With prompts from an illustrated story book and an instruction booklet with 48 challenges, kids employ logical reasoning and critical thinking to arrange the Seven Dwarfs correctly to keep the Wicked Witch away from Snow White.







Ages 5+

GeoSmart Moon Lander

Easy to put together, take apart, and re-arrange into new configurations, magnetic toys readily foster creative design and intuitive play. GeoSmart’s Moon Lander adds a dash of robotics to the mix with a motor and remote control, giving kids the ability to put their vehicles through their paces. But they’ll need to think critically about how the various components work together and where to make connections to have the motor drive the rover.




Osmo Coding Jam Game

By snapping together “coding” blocks that the game’s app reads and then translates into animated musical compositions, kid-users make music through programming. Though families do need an iPad or iPhone to run the app and play kids’ pop hit creations, this open-ended digital toy encourages creative thinking, spatial reasoning, critical evaluation and computational logic.





Ages 8+

Droid Inventor Kit

Your little one can build their very own custom Droid and bring it to life using littleBits electronic blocks! With the free Droid Inventor app, they’ll give their R2 Unit new abilities and reconfigure parts to design any Droid they can dream up. App includes challenges to promote creativity and customization using household items.






E-Blox Circuit Builder

What if Legos could make a fan spin, or play a little tune? That’s the idea behind the 120 circuit-building projects kids can build with the bricks in this electronics learning toy.  Builders can also design their own circuits, creating linkages to light up blocks, or turn on a noisemaker to annoy their older sibling. #funfact They’re compatible with Legos!






Something for the Big Kids

Swift Playgrounds

A revolutionary app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. It requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out. Solve puzzles to master the basics using Swift — a powerful programming language created by Apple and used by the pros to build today’s most popular apps.



THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 is the fourth and final installment in The Hunger Games series. So, if you haven’t seen the others, forget about seeing this one (although, I assume you could have figured that out on your own). While I have never been a fan of The Hunger Games book trilogy, and I think the previous movies were lacking, Part 2 was actually quite enjoyable.

The film starts shortly after MOCKINGJAY PART 1 ended, when (SPOILER?) Peeta was rescued and promptly attacked and attempted to strangle Katniss (END SPOILER). The rebels are still going strong as they make their way through the capital with the objective of finally ending the rebellion and assassinating President Snow. Unfortunately, the film takes some time to get going, but once it gets through the boring politics, it turns into a really exciting and captivating action/military flick. However, it certainly suffers from the “Part 2 Syndrome” of having to fit most of the action and little of the actual story into the series’ climax, but I’d argue that it walks that thin line with an incredible amount of grace and is actually my favorite film of the entire series.

My problem with the other films and even the books was that I had a difficult time finding Katniss to be an interesting character. It’s not as though she’s suddenly intriguing in this film, but she definitely complains much less. She still complains, but not as often. What’s strange to me is that Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress and always gives spectacular performances, but the character of Katniss is simply dull and nothing Lawrence could do can really change that. I also felt as though many of the big character deaths (yes, people die in a dystopian war film) were rushed and did not emotionally impact the story as much as they should have. With a run time of over two hours, there’s no reason why they needed to gloss over such important events.

Of course the emotional through-line of the series is the relationship triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, which obviously comes to its conclusion by the end of the film. To be honest, it was probably the best aspect of Part 2. As you probably know, Peeta just went through an extreme amount of brainwashing at the hands of the capital and now views Katniss as a threat and a liar. Their relationship has never been more exciting! Gale is still… well Gale is boring. I suppose I’m on #TeamPeeta if that’s something we’re still doing. Nonetheless, I’ve always found the dichotomy between Katniss and Peeta to be extremely interesting and one of the only things to continually bring me back to the series. That and the capital mutts. Those guys are awesome.

The bottom line is, if you like any of The Hunger Games films, you’ll easily enjoy Mockingjay – Part 2. After all, I didn’t like the other Hunger Games films and I still enjoyed it. It has great action sequences, solid arcs, and ends in an uplifting way that the book didn’t really capture. But don’t go out of your way to catch up with the series if you’re not already a fan.




3.5 / 5 Stars


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

Run Time: 137 minutes

There have been a lot of really great games to hit the shelves lately. Whether you play your games on PC, Xbox, or Playstation you are sure to find a bunch of great titles to fill your gaming needs.  We’ve decided to cover just a few of the games coming soon in this Fall Gaming Review.  Some are annual power houses,  a long awaited returning favorite, and even some new blood.

EA Sports – Madden, FIFA, NHL, NBA Live

First up is the annual EA Sports release of their flagship titles.  The release of Madden is coming first on 8/25, shortly followed by the others.  You are sure to see some improved features, updated graphics, and likely the best authenticity in the business.  If you are looking for originality however you are looking in the wrong place.  EA has found the magic potion of producing essentially the same game for the last 10 years and still making a killing every year.  The replay value is what you can bank on when you play one of these new titles.  There will be plenty of people slaving over these games for hours, no months, just to live out their dreams of bringing home a championship.  Available on Xbox, Playstation, and PC.

Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Gears has been remastered for the Xbox one! The landmark original Gears of War has been completely rebuilt from the ground up in full 1080P. Every aspect of the game including lighting, environments, characters, and cinematic scenes have been  recreated.   Includes all original 19 maps and six competitive modes including Team Death Match, King of the Hill and a new 2v2 mode.  Microsoft has taken a cue from 343 Industries approach by including all 4 Gears of Wars into one, similar to Halo Master Chief Edition.  Lets just hope it won’t be plagued with issues in the few days of the launch.  Available 8/25 on Xbox only.


LEGO Dimensions

Arguably one of the most anticipated games of the fall season.  LEGO Dimensions is a truly unique video game, for kids and adults (big kids).  For the first time ever, characters from all over the LEGO universe are joining forces to battle in worlds outside their own.  Here’s How It Works:  1. Build your mini figure heroes  2. Fire up the game
3. Assemble bricks into a LEGO gateway and play. It’s that easy!  Team up with accidental allies, journey to amazing worlds, and strive to defeat the evil.  You can expect your favorite characters and some new never before seen in the LEGO universe, Marty McFly (Back to the Future), The Doctor (Doctor Who), Homer Simpson, and Legolas (Lord of the Rings) just to name a few.  Check HERE for the complete list of expansions due at launch.  Available 9/27 on Xbox, Playstation, and Wii U.


Rockband 4

The triumphant return of the beloved Rockband is almost upon us.  It’s been 5 years since gamers have been able to put down their controllers and lay down some sick rifs to their favorite tunes.  The ultimate party game has returned with a brand new list of bands that are sure to keep you jamming.  The Fender inspired guitar bundle is $129 and the full bundle including guitar, drums, and microphone are gonna set you back $249.  Well worth the investment if it will be anything like its predecessors. Available 10/6 on Xbox and Playstation.