Whether you spell it Hanukkah or Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish holiday is a great time to spend with friends and family. Help your kids celebrate the Festival of Lights with our favorite Hanukkah books, apps, music, and websites.
Blog Posts by Common Sense Media
Whether it is CDs, iTunes downloads, or some other format, kids love getting music for gifts. Our editors have chosen the best soundtracks and albums of 2011 for preschoolers, elementary age kids, and tweens. (And for more specialized tastes, browse our best music lists for things like clean hip-hop music, American Idols music, Glee music for kids, holiday music, and more.)Read More »from Give the Gift of Music This Holiday Season
- Common Sense Media | Parenting – Wed, Dec 7, 2011 3:08 PM EST
Save money on your holiday shopping this year.
The holiday season is upon us -- and so is a pretty painful economy. Whether it's family entertainment, gifts for the kids, or gifts for relatives and friends, the costs of video games, DVDs, and presents can quickly add up. But if you know where to look, you can find some pretty sweet deals. Check out these ideas:
Skip the night out at the movies. With so many options for watching movies online, whether downloading or streaming, you can still enjoy first-run flicks (or seasons of your favorite TV series), for less than the cost of a night out at the theater. Netflix, Blockbuster, YouTube, VUDU, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu all offer videos to enjoy without leaving home. Some of these sites offer a flat rental fee for a few dollars, some offer a monthly subscription rate, and some even offer the ultimate bargain -- free rentals!
Check out your library. Libraries aren't just for books! Most public libraries have a great selection of DVDs, audioRead More »from 6 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment and Gifts This Holiday
Looking for a unique stocking stuffer this year? Try giving your kids an app or two (or treat yourself and just let them play sometimes!). Whether you've got little kids who will appreciate interactive storybooks or older ones who can't get enough of Rock Band in any format, apps make affordable, fun holiday gifts. Not sure how to give an app? Look for the "Gift This App" option in the App Store.Print our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide to get more than 70 great picks for every kid on your list.
Read More »from Holiday Apps for Every Kid
The holidays are here!
Poor Thanksgiving. It's merely a blip on the calendar between the mass marketing frenzies of Halloween and the holidays. And with Black Friday starting earlier every year, the shopping madness is in full swing even before the leftovers get put away.
Some of this stuff is fun -- helping your kid make her first wish list, admiring the lights and holiday decorations, and even dreaming about the gifts that'll make your kids' hearts sing. But there's a downside, too, and we all know what it is: the invasive consumerist culture that makes us fight over the last Elmo doll and prompts our kids to beg for pricey, name-brand products.
Is it possible to partake of only those holiday rituals you love -- twinkling lights, yummy treats, peace -- and nix the parts you don't -- escalating prices, overflowing wish lists, unrealistic expectations, crying, begging, and whining? We think yes. But you'll need to start training yourself and your kids now to think more critically about holidayRead More »from 5 Ways to Handle Holiday Shopping
"Is it that bad to let your kids watch Aliens?" My ex-husband posed this question to me -- and he was dead serious. Did I mention that our kids are 6 and 8?
For the most part, my ex and I agree on media choices for the kids, and we try to be respectful of each other's wishes. He'll call to ask what Common Sense Media says about a movie before taking the kids to see it. I'll check with him about how much screen time they've had at his place so that I can adjust when the kids are with me. Still, there are some things we don't see eye-to-eye on.Read More »from Managing the Kids' Media with Your Ex
Know about the devices your kids are using.
How to Manage This Year's Top Tech Toys
The holidays are traditionally the time for the big gifts that kids have been begging for all year. Stores and online retailers are gearing up for the rush with high-ticket electronics like e-readers, tablet computers, fancy phones, handheld game consoles, and even tricked-out learning tools for preschoolers.
This year's crop of devices promises exciting stuff -- like the ability to pack all of your kids' books into one tiny digital device or practice math drills en route to Grandma's house. But if you don't read all of the fine print (and, let's face it, who does?), these new products' high-tech bells and whistles may catch you off guard.
Often, it's not until your kids start taking advantage of the fancy features that you realize what the devices can do. That new tablet computer your daughter uses for book reports also lets her video chat with friends at midnight. The smartphone your son uses to text you for a ride alsoRead More »from Family Guide to Kids' High-Tech Devices
Need a great pick for your next family movie night? Our editors have handpicked some of the best kids and family movies on DVD -- including classics, action, comedy, and drama. These are some of our top family movies, so settle in for a night or two of snuggling and wrestling with the remote.
What do kids want for the holidays? Cool games! Whether they are on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Kinect, PSP, DS, or DSi, here are our top picks for challenging, fun, and age-appropriate games for 2010 holiday gifts. Puzzle games? Yup. Mario games? Yup. PC games? Absolutely. All that is left to do is unwrap the boxes and play!Read More »from Wanna Play? Check Out Our Holiday Game Picks!
- Common Sense Media | Parenting – Fri, Nov 18, 2011 1:44 PM EST
Holiday Gift Guide.
If "great family movies" is at the top of your wish list this holiday season, you're in luck -- this fall, the multiplex will be packed with kid-friendly characters, from dancing penguins (Happy Feet Two) and swashbuckling cats (Puss in Boots) to everyone's favorite Muppet gang and even a Twilight vampire or two for teens. Get the buzz now, and be sure to come back when we post our complete reviews -- as always, we'll provide detailed ratings and reviews on everything from violence to sexual content, plus conversation starters so you can talk to your kids about what you see.
Arthur ChristmasRead More »from Holiday Movie Preview: What's Hot, and What's Not?
Release Date: Nov. 23
Target Age: Young Kids
What's the Buzz?: From the animators responsible for Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run comes this English holiday comedy about Father Christmas' (that's Santa to us Yanks) son Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), who must find a way to use his father's state-of-the-art North Pole technology to deliver the correct present to one special little