Up to date information about children’s entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for September, 2010

Check out “The Possibility Shop,” an original web series by The Jim Henson Company

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Disney Online, part of the Disney Interactive Media Group, today debuts a second season of “The Possibility Shop” (www.Family.com/PossibilityShop), an original web series produced by The Jim Henson Company.  The site, which can be accessed through Disney Family.com, will be updated every two to three weeks with content designed to inspire the imagination of the entire family through creative projects, activities and games.  The Clorox Company returns as the exclusive sponsor for all 20 webisodes in season two of “The Possibility Shop.” 

Building on the success of its first season, season two of “The Possibility Shop” features creator and host Courtney Watkins engaging directly with moms as they discover their own “how to, can do” attitude on projects that will surprise, intrigue and delight their families and themselves. The second season will run through August 2011 with webisodes focusing on finding whimsy in the every day, as well as fun, out-of-the-box ideas for celebrating holidays, the change of seasons, and more.  New to season two, each webisode will also feature one of Courtney Watkins’ ‘Bright Ideas,’ a quick and easy family activity related to that webisode’s content that will also feature products from The Clorox Company. 

“We are excited to debut a second season of ‘The Possibility Shop’ with the goal of reaching  and engaging an even broader audience of moms, building on the success of the first season,” said Emily Smith, vice president, Disney Online Mom and Family Portfolio.  “Moms specifically, will benefit from the useful and creative advice the show offers for finding fun in their everyday lives.”

“We’re known for fostering imagination at The Jim Henson Company and Courtney Watkins’ irreverence, whimsy and ability to inspire creativity make her a perfect partner in bringing ‘The Possibility Shop’ to DisneyFamily.com,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company, the licensor for all merchandising and licensing for the property.

“Whether it’s designing and building a haunted house, offering instructions for a make-your-own board game, jump starting a conversation or finding ways to carry the spirit of the holidays throughout the entire year, season two of ‘The Possibility Shop’ is going to energize parents and kids alike to pursue the infinite possibilities for every day creative adventures,” stated Courtney Watkins.

Season two kicks off with Courtney stepping outside the shop and into the real world as she visits a real family experiencing a creative conundrum.  Courtney assists the family with fantastic ideas on how to refuel the imagination and spark creative adventures.  Future episodes from both inside The Possibility Shop and out in the world will highlight creative ideas for themes and holidays such as Halloween, Winter Wonderland, Father’s Day and Summer Fun!

About Courtney Watkins – Teacher, author, artist, mom, TV personality and creative guru, Courtney Watkins is at the center of “The Possibility Shop.” Courtney faces creative challenges, introduces new ideas, demonstrates how-to-techniques, seeks answers to befuddling questions and all the while unearths the “Aha!” moments hidden in a child’s every day.  Revealing creative ideas for art, games, conversations, experiments, inventions, decorations and explorations, Courtney energizes viewers to pursue limitless fun, on-your-own, at-home activities.

PBS Kids Launches Digital Citizenship Initiative for Online Youth

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

PBS announced today the launch of its PBS KIDS GO! Digital Citizenship Initiative to help kids and parents navigate today’s digital landscape.  The initiative features a suite of new resources for kids and parents, among them a new interactive, online game Webonauts Internet Academy designed to teach kids about online privacy, how to deal with bullying and how to distinguish credible sources online.  The Webonauts Internet Academy is available free on PBSKIDSGO.org/webonauts.  Parents can find helpful supporting information on PBSPARENTS.org, including tips for kids’ internet use from Common Sense Media.

“PBSKIDS.org and PBSKIDSGO.org are often the first internet experiences for young children, attracting close to 10 million unique visitors monthly. Like learning to ride a bicycle, the first adventures should be carefully monitored by parents and assisted with training wheels before a child is ready to ride solo,” said Lesli Rotenberg, SVP, Children’s Media, PBS. “The PBS KIDS GO! Digital Citizenship Initiative provides the tools and support parents and kids need to feel confident they are ready to explore their online independence.”

Support for younger computer users is more important than ever as online media consumption for youth continues to rise. According to a January 2010 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the top online activities for 8-18 year-olds include social networking, playing games and visiting video sites such as YouTube.  Seventy four percent of all 7th-12th graders say they have a profile on a social networking site. The PBS KIDS GO! Digital Citizenship Initiative will arm children with web knowledge before they become immersed in it as tweens and teens.

“Parents everywhere are struggling to navigate the sea change in their children’s media consumption.  Instead of challenging families to flip the switch off, initiatives like this are critical to support parents with resources that help them understand what they can expect from media and, in turn, guide their kids to become savvy users of media,” said Erin Reilly, Research Director for Project New Media Literacies at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism and academic advisor to the Webonauts Internet Academy.

“Through this partnership with PBS KIDS GO!, we have an even greater opportunity to reach both kids and parents and empower them to embrace the skills they need to make safe, responsible, and respectful decisions in today’s 24/7 digital world,” said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media.

Privacy Priorities

A Wall Street Journal investigative report published earlier this month found many children’s websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than some of the top websites for adults.  The report brings to light how sites for youngsters can track age, tastes, hobbies, shopping habits, race, likelihood to post comments and general location. It notes that privacy practices vary widely, tasking parents and other caregivers to decode sites’ privacy policies.

PBSKIDS.org fared well in the report.  “Protecting the privacy of children visiting PBSKIDS.org and PBSKIDSGO.org is of utmost importance to PBS,” commented Rotenberg.  “Since launching PBSKIDS.org in 1997, PBS has been a leader in online safety for children, strictly adhering to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and to our own high standards.”

Resources for Kids and Parents

In the Webonauts Internet Academy, children play through a series of 12 missions adhering to the Webonauts’ motto:  “Observe, Respect, Contribute.”  Each mission helps children understand critical online safety issues, such as the importance of protecting passwords and maintaining privacy settings.  Other missions teach how to differentiate between credible and non-credible sources of information and how to react to bullying.

When all missions are completed, children become full-fledged Webonauts and earn their Webonauts Internet Academy Certificate, which they can proudly display in their virtual room at the Webonauts Internet Academy or print out to display at home.

Related to the launch of the Webonauts Internet Academy, PBS will offer free discussion guides and other online and printable resources to help parents and educators foster a discussion about online safety and good digital citizenship with children.  These materials will be available for free on PBSPARENTS.org.

DVDs for Elementary, Middle School and High Schoolers Releasing this Week

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Barbie fans will love Barbie in a Fashion Fairytale. Join Barbie in a colorful, modern-day fairytale filled with fashion, friends and fun! Barbie and her dog Sequin jet off to visit her aunt’s amazing fashion house in Paris, and much to her surprise, it’s about to be shut down forever. After she discovers three enchanting Fairies with sparkle-magic powers, Barbie comes up with a brilliant idea to save the business. She even inspires Alice, a shy fashion designer, and together they create a dazzling runway fashion show. Barbie shows that magic happens when you believe in yourself. DVD. 90 min.; Ages 5-8.

  

The Emmy Award-winninig Series – Glee: The Complete First Season. Glee follows an optimistic teacher who – against all odds and a malicious cheerleading coach – inspires McKinley High’s Glee Club to conquer the world one singing competition at a time. The music from Glee continues to shine with inventive renditions of past and present hit songs including Ike & Tina Turner’s Proud Mary, Madonna’s Like A Virgin and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. DVD. 1,045 min.; Ages 12-18.

Sports fans will enjoy Just Wright. A romantic sports film starring three of Hollywood’s most charismatic personalities, Just Wright follows Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah; The Secret Life of Bees), a straight-shooting physical therapist who gets the gig of a lifetime working with NBA All-Star Scott McKnight (Common; Date Night). Everything is going great until Leslie finds herself falling for Scott. Oblivious to her romantic overtures, McKnight is instead drawn to Leslie’s gorgeous childhood friend Morgan (Paula Patton; Precious), who has her sights set on being an NBA trophy wife. Is Leslie destined to play the role of “best friend” forever or will Scott finally see that what he has always wanted is right in front of him? DVD. 101 min.; Ages 12-18.

Two DVDs for Middle Schoolers That Will Open Up Conversations Between You

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Flipped. Girl-phobic and easily embarrassed, young Bryce does everything he can to keep his outspoken wannabe girlfriend at arm’s length for the next six years. This isn’t easy, since they go to the same school and live across the street from each other. This coming-of-age romantic comedy from director Rob Reiner takes Bryce and Juli from Grade School to Junior High, through triumph and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make the discoveries that will define who they are – and who they are to each other. Theatrical release. KIDS FIRST! comments: Flipped is a movie showing how when you like a guy (or girl) make sure you see  them as the whole self.  A quote I loved from the movie is “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I do not know exactly what it means but it touched my heart. Rob Reiner (Director) really showed the viewers what Flipped means – showing the same situation from both the girl’s side and the boy’s side. I would recommend it to everyone that has ever had a crush.  Hold on tight because Flipped is coming soon to theaters. (Lauren Boxer) 90 min.; Ages 9-13. 

 

 

The Secret of Moonacre. After being orphaned, young Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) must leave her luxurious home and live with her eccentric uncle Sir Benjamin (Ioan Gruffudd) at the mysterious Moonacre Manor. There, she discovers a magical moonlit world torn apart by an ancient feud and inhabited by outlandish characters and mythical beasts. Now, Maria must unearth the secrets of her past in order to fulfill her destiny… all before the 5,000th moon rises and Moonacre Manor disappears into the sea forever. KIDS FIRST! comments: A very well crafted period film featuring Dakota Blue Richards (The Golden Compass) and Tim Curry with beautiful cinematography that takes you to an imaginary place filled with mysticism and wonder. Maria’s character, in the aftermath of losing her father and her family fortune, perseveres and she becomes the true heroine of not just her family, but the community. An inspiring film that will win the hearts of youth and adults as well. It probably appeals more to girls than boys. DVD. 103 min.;Ages 8-12.

 

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