Looking for a way to get your kids moving? Try one of these great fitness games -- the best of the best of the "active gaming" trend. From full-on workouts to dance-fueled fun, these active games are a great way to mix exercise and entertainment.
Blog Posts by Common Sense Media
Be media-savvy about the devices your kids have.
If your kids unwrapped high-ticket electronics this year, they were in good company. E-readers, tablet computers, fancy phones, handheld game consoles, and even tricked-out learning tools for preschoolers were huge this holiday season.
This year's crop of devices offers great advantages -- 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 also "helped" him rack up $60 in charges playing a certain app with in-game purchases. And many high-tech devices require consistentRead More »from How to Manage This Year's Top Tech Toys
Know how much time your kids are spending with media.
The facts: Kids spend more than 7.5 hours a day with media, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation
- A 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that watching fast-paced cartoons can have an immediate negative impact on kids' ability to plan and think ahead
- Also according to Pediatrics, excessive television exposure in the preschool years leads to diminished school performance
- Kids who watch more television than their peers during the middle and high school years have less healthy diets five years later, according to a 2009 study by the University of Minnesota
- Girls with a heavy sexual media diet engage in sexual activity younger than their peers, according to a 2007 poll by Harris Interactive
- Children who watch between two and four hours of television a day are two-and-a-half times more likely to have high blood pressure, according to a 2007 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
What's a healthy media diet?
Here'sRead More »from How to Maintain a Healthy Media Diet
'Tis the season for turning off the tech!
Is this the most wired holiday ever? There are apps for organizing your holiday events, online wish list-creators for kids, sites that will send your kids an email from Santa -- and lots of new electronic devices geared for kids. And between texting, video games, and socializing online, you might find it hard to get a word in edgewise with your kids.
As much as we all love and depend on our high-tech toys, our reliance on them -- let's face it -- can get in the way of the warm and cozy family time we so carefully scheduled (probably on our electronic calendar!).
An outright ban on digital devices won't win your kids' respect -- or compliance. But with a little planning, you can balance your family's tech activities with much-needed face time. Here's how:
1. Be jolly -- but firm. Explain to your kids that you want to downsize -- not demolish -- your family's reliance onRead More »from 5 Ways to Unplug with Your Kids This Holiday
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.
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