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“3 Questions” with Parents’ Choice Audio Award Winner Justin Roberts


 Image courtesy of: Todd Rosenberg 

Image courtesy of: Todd Rosenberg


Q. What was the first instrument you played? And how old were you when you started playing music?

A. The first instrument I played was really a turntable. Not that I was scratching like a DJ, but I used to listen to vinyl records all day in pre-school and loved the soundtrack to “Fantasia,” “Oliver” the musical, and tons of other things. My older brother introduced me to The Beatles, and I later discovered The Beach Boys. In terms of a real musical instrument, I took piano lessons when I was 6 or 7, sang in chorus, and played the clarinet later in elementary school.

Q. What’s the most important thing to remember when writing a song for kids?

A. It’s obvious but rarely done: never underestimate your audience. I’m always shocked and delighted to find out certain kids gravitate to songs that I never would have imagined they would enjoy. Sometimes I write a song and think, “This one will probably appeal more to parents,” and then a three year old will come up and tell me it’s their favorite song. I love that. The bottom line is try to write great songs no matter who your audience is. Kids are boundless in what they can feel and understand.

Q.  What do children tell you about your songs?

A. Well, in reference to what I was just talking about. One time in Seattle, a very young kid came up to me with his mother and she said: “Tell Justin what your favorite song is.” And the kid said“Never Getting Lost” (from Jungle Gym). That is a pretty melancholy song about getting lost in a mall. I always thought it was more for adults.

I asked the mother, “Has he ever been lost?” And she said, “No, but he just is concerned about people who get lost and wants to help them.” It truly blew my mind.

The song has a lyric that expresses a lot of what I try to say in my music for families: “When I saw her face, I could almost see, she was looking just as lost as me, but we’re never getting lost … again.” The idea is basically that kids are just small versions of the adults they will become and adults will always have a bit of that kid that they were, still left inside them.

Justin Roberts has won eight Parents’ Choice Gold Awards. He will release his 13th album for families, Lemonade, on October 14th.

Watch his new video here!




15 Ways to Serve Up Cooking Fun


Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

Ages: All Ages
Author: Jessie Hartland
Illustrator: Jessie Hartland
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0375869440
Hardcover Price: $17.99

This beautiful picture book recounts the life and adventures of the beloved chef with hand-written text and squiggly drawings of detailed scenes.


Cooking Class

Ages: 8 – 12 yrs.
Author: Deanna F. Cook
Publisher: Storey Publishing
ISBN: 9781612124001
Hardcover Price: $18.95

A colorful cookbook full of fun recipes that are perfect for making with little ones.


The Forest Feast for Kids

Ages: 8 – 12 yrs.
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781419718861
Hardcover Price: $19.95

Forty easy-to-follow, kid-friendly vegetarian recipes.


ChopChop Magazine

Ages: 2 – 12 yrs.
Publisher: ChopChop Kids
Newsstand Price: $3.99
Subscription Price: $14.95 / 4 Issues

A cooking magazine made just for kids who love to play in the kitchen.



Toca Kitchen

Ages: 3 – 8 yrs.
Developer: Toca Boca
Download Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad

This fun and easy to navigate app lets kids play with their food.




The Red Hen…And More Cooking Stories

Ages: 4 – 9 yrs.
Producer: New Video
DVD Price: $14.95

This collection of read along stories center around food-inspired themes.



The Good Food Factory

Ages: 7 – 11 yrs.
Producer: The Good Food Factory LLC
Rating: TV Y

A cooking show for kids featuring kids who cook!


In a Pickle

Ages: 2 – 7 yrs.
Producer: Little Loomis Records
CD Price: $10.00

Fun, food-themed music featuring songs such as, “Jellyface,” and “Mama Makes the Mashed Potatoes.”



OTO Taco Truck/Ice Cream Truck

Spring 2015 Toys
Ages: 2 & Up
Manufacturer: Famous OTO
Price: $59.00

Food Truckies will have a blast serving up fun in these large cardboard playhouses.



PBS KIDS Sandwich Stacker

Ages: 1 & Up
Manufacturer: PBS Kids
Price: $11.99

Little ones can stack, rearrange, and re-stack 12 layers of sandwich fixins’.




Fisher-Price Wooden Toys Early Bird Barista Set

Ages: 2 & Up
Manufacturer: Fisher-Price
Price: $30.00

A French press, to-go coffee cups, a milk carton, and sugar shaker round out this “we-wish-it-was-real” pretend play set.




Pizzeria Pretend Play Activity Kit

Ages: 3 – 8 yrs.
Manufacturer: Bramble Box
Price: $25.00

Kids learn math, reading, and writing skills all while serving up fun.



Clifford Food Science

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: The Young Scientists Club
Price: $19.99

For little food scientists, kids can conduct experiments such as, the “Exploding Marshmallow”.



Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Educational Insights
Price: $21.99

Players race to see who can build the first five-course meal.




Menu Mash-Up

Ages: 12 & Up
Manufacturer: Chronicle Books
Price: $22.95

This card game has players competing to create the best menu.




Just Announced! The Parents’ Choice Audio Awards



jazz man - vector illustration

Listen up!

From Mark Binder’s storytelling prowess, to the shores of classical music, we saddle up, get crazy with happiness and walk down a sunflower road.

Monkeys are jumping, two cows are obsessed with detail, and novelties abound. Big things are ahead!

Let’s make a circle. Join us in celebrating the Fall 2016 Parents’ Choice Audio Awards.

Here, you can be anything you want, whether you’re awake or in your dreams. Just Press Play!




Announcing: The 2016 Small Screen Award Winners



applause - vector cartoon


Bravo! Brava! to the latest Parents’ Choice Small Screen Award winners!

With our hats off and our applause still echoing, we invite you to explore the Mobile App, Website, DVD, and Software Fall 2016 Parents’ Choice Award winners.

From big words to road trips, and from plants and green eggs to stories online, this media showcase brings playful learning to a small screen near you.






19 Ways to Explore the Earth Sciences



Toys and Games

New Sprouts® Grow It!

Ages: 2 & Up
Manufacturer: Learning Resources
Price: $24.99

This nine piece New Sprouts Grow It plastic gardening play set includes a working watering can, two flowers, a carrot, a radish, a trowel and three pots for planting.



Primary Science Outdoor Discovery Set

Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Learning Resources
Price: $29.99

This set uses common household ingredients, pebbles, twigs and bugs, and craft items to conduct and complete 10 different experiments.




Dinosaur Escape

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Peaceable Kingdom
Price: $17.99

In this cooperative board game, players must work together to ensure that all three dinosaurs are safely on the island before the volcano erupts.



LEGO City Deep Sea Helicopter

Ages: 7 – 12 yrs.
Manufacturer: LEGO Systems, Inc.
Price: $49.99

This set is comprised of 388 pieces, step by step instructions to make two main vehicles; a helicopter and an underwater pod type vehicle, three mini figures (a submariner, pilot, scuba diver), a shark, and a treasure chest full of jewels.





Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Ravensburger
Price: $44.99

This microscope allows children to view magnified objects through their smart device (e.g., phone, tablet, etc.).




Wind Power 3.0

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $54.95

This kit includes components to build and power models, and a well-designed 32 page manual with experiments, lessons, and information about wind as power.




Solar & Salt Water Eco-Fan

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Amazing Toys Limited
Price: $14.99

This kit lets children create a robotic fan that runs on salt water and sunlight.




Volcanoes & Earthquakes

Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $34.95

A comprehensive science kit designed to teach about these natural phenomena and their amazing power that can result in catastrophic consequence.






The Big Book of Dinosaurs

Ages: 5 – 8 yrs.
Publisher: DK Publishing
ISBN: 9781465443779
Hardcover Price: $14.99

This big book contains lots of big illustrations of big (and a few small) dinosaurs.





Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Publisher: Cricket Media
Newsstand Price: $6.95
Subscription Price: $33.95 / 9 Issues

Budding scientists will find plenty to think about in this dynamic, “opening windows for young minds” publication, geared to the preschool and kindergarten set.




National Geographic Little Kids

Ages: 3 – 6 yrs.
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Newsstand Price: $3.99
Subscription Price: $15.00 / 6 Issues

From “Weird but True” to “History’s Greatest Hits” and “Bet You Didn’t Know” to “By the Numbers”, the magazine’s sections are like eager students with their hands up shouting “Pick me!”



Ranger Rick Jr.

Ages: 4 – 7 yrs.
Publisher: National Wildlife Federation
Newsstand Price: $4.99
Subscription Price: $19.95 / 10 Issues

Ranger Rick Jr., offers nature-themed stories, photographs, and puzzles for children not yet ready for Ranger Rick.



Ranger Rick Magazine

Ages: 7 & Up
Publisher: National Wildlife Federation
Newsstand Price: $4.99
Subscription Price: $19.95 / 10 Issues

Excellent reading material for children who are interested in wildlife and who enjoy nature writing.





Ages: 7 – 10 yrs.
Publisher: Cricket Media
Newsstand Price: $6.95
Subscription Price: $33.95 / 9 Issues

This magazine offers elementary school-aged children a window into how science and engineering can infiltrate all areas of life, often in entertaining and unexpected ways.



Owl Magazine

Ages: 9 – 13 yrs.
Publisher: Owlkids Publishing
Newsstand Price: $5.25
Subscription Price: $34.95 / 10 Issues

This magazine is packed with great facts and articles from a range of STEM fields, all conveyed in a dynamic and student-friendly manner.




MarcoPolo Ocean

Ages: 3 & Up
Developer: MarcoPolo Learning
Download Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad

This app is designed to introduce children to the ocean and its eco-system as they discover life on a coral reef, 30 species of fish and marine mammals, and build and pilot a boat and a submersible vehicle.



Scholastic First Discovery: The Forest

Ages: 4 & Up
Developer: Scholastic
Price: $1.99

Children will learn where each type of forest is and what type of climate it has. They will practice identifying the coniferous and deciduous trees of the temperate forest by looking at the leaves each grows. Simple activities demonstrate changing seasons’ effect on both coniferous (evergreen) and deciduous (leaf-shedding) trees.



Ocean Forests

Ages: 5 – 8 yrs.
Developer: 3D Learning Group
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

Children can explore the 3D underwater world; they can zoom in and out, swipe to change their point of view, and tap the flashlight to learn more about various creatures and features of the environment.




Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin

Ages: 13 – 16 yrs.
Producer: Litton Entertainment
Rating: TV G

Jeff Corwin takes viewers on conservation and educational missions to underwater wonderlands. Exploring the ocean’s deepest secrets from the coral reefs of Thailand, viewers are swept along.