PBS Kids Celebrate Spring with Explore the Outdoors Program

It’s finally beautiful in NJ/NYC and Spring is in full swing. Our friends at PBS Kids have a fun lineup of great programming to celebrate the outdoors and everything we love about Spring.

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PBS Kids’ annual Explore the Outdoors kicks off today with a week of new episodes from those Wild Kratts and Nature Cat! I love that it’s an Earth Month celebration with a lot of STEM thrown in.

Check out all the fun new programming coming up for PBS Kids:

PBS KIDS Explore the Outdoors Program Details & Air Dates (check local listings) 

WILD KRATTS

“Archerfish School”

Premieres April 10, streaming April 10

When the Kratt Bros meet a school of Archerfish, they are taught the secret of “water droplet” archery from an Archerfish named Arrow. Soon, they are using this newly learned skill to infiltrate Donita Donata’s yacht and rescue the baby animals she has been capturing for her newest high-end fashion line.

 

“This Orca Likes Sharks”

Premieres April 11; streaming April 14

The Kratt Bros discover a message in a bottle telling them about an wily old orca who eats only large sharks. They find this hard to believe, so with the help of Aviva’s Dolphin Decoder, modified to speak Orca, the Wild Kratts go in search of the orca who likes sharks!

 

“Baby Tooth & Kid Musky”

Premieres April 12, streaming April 21

When the Wild Kratts begin to talk about predator and prey, the Kratt Bros decide to split up to investigate the lives of being a predator and a prey. But when they each befriend a young member of their respective groups and the groups collide, the gang must struggle to figure out how they react in a true battle for survival.

 

“Cheetah Adopted”

Premieres April 13; streaming April 28

Martin and Chris are creature adventuring on the African savannah when they encounter a warthog mom and her piglets. But they notice something odd. One of the piglets is the cheetah cub Spotswat! It’s up to the Kratt Bros to find out why this cub has been adopted into the warthog family and to reunite him with his mother, Blur.

 

“Musk Ox Mania”

Premieres April 14; streaming May 5

When Chris realizes that his precious creature souvenir collection is missing, the gang must travel back to the Arctic to find it. But the Arctic is now covered in a thick layer of ice and snow, so they’ll need the help of a special Arctic creature — the musk ox — and its creature powers to find it.

 

NATURE CAT

“Spring Hunter 3000/The Case of the Missing Moon”

Premieres April 10, streaming April 10

“Spring Hunter 3000” ? Spring has sprung! And it’s now time for Daisy’s favorite online game: Spring Hunter 3000! The goal of the game is to try to find as many signs of spring as possible: birds, flowers, you name it. The more you find, the more points you earn. And whoever gets the most points is deemed the queen or king of spring! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

 

“The Case of the Missing Moon” ? Hal is so so so sad! When he went to howl at the moon, as he does every night, the moon was gone! But that’s impossible! How does a moon just disappear? There has to be a logical explanation, right? Can Nature Cat and his pals find the missing moon? Or will Hal’s nightly howls come to an end for good?

 

“Mighty Mountain Climbers/Bug Eating Plants!”

Premieres April 11; streaming April 14

“Mighty Mountain Climbers” ? On a dare from Ronald, Nature Cat and his pals try to climb all the way up to The Mighty Mountain Peak. They get all the supplies they need and head out, led by Nature Cat. But they soon find out that hiking up a mountain is hard and poses many problems, no matter how prepared you are. Will they make it all the way to the peak?!

 

“Bug Eating Plants!” ? A super-excited Squeeks shows her brand-new, homemade comic “Bug Eating Plants of the Swamp!” to her pals. As Squeeks begins to read the story, we see this action-packed adventure played out, as tiny Nature Cat, Hal, Daisy and Squeeks must make their way through the swamp while trying to stay away from the Bug Eating Plants, which proves difficult for Tiny Hal! 

 

“Flight of the Firefly/Thunderstruck”

Premieres April 12, streaming April 21

“The Flight of the Firefly” ? While looking for fireflies in the backyard, Hal catches one so the gang can look closely at it and watch it glow. Hal names the firefly George and promises to watch it and hug it and then set it free, which he does, but for some reason George doesn’t want to fly away and hangs around Hal. George seems to have something on his mind. Since no one can communicate with a firefly, they call in Houston. With the help of his firefly communicator, they find out that George is lost and needs help finding the Firefly Fiesta!

 

“Thunderstruck” ? It’s Nature Scrapbook Day today! Nature Cat and his pals are out in nature, taking photos, drawing pictures and collecting various properties of nature to put in their nature scrapbook. Suddenly, a thunderstorm causes the gang to seek shelter in Hal’s doghouse. As Nature Cat and his friends learn, thunderstorms are nothing to be scared of. They also are able to see the beauty of thunderstorms, which become the last entry in their scrapbook.

 

“Plants Got the Moves/Magnet Mania”

Premieres April 13; streaming April 28

“Plants Got the Moves” ? Daisy has being getting ready for months for the Animal Science Fair, which occurs later in the woods. Man-oh-man is Daisy ready with her terrific exhibit, which shows how bean seeds grow. But before going to the fair, a gust of wind knocks over her science fair project, ruining it. Daisy needs help to try to find another science project to exhibit at the Animal Science Fair and finds inspiration from an unlikely source: plants that move!

 

“Magnet Mania” ? Ever hear of Ole’ Lucky the Lodestone? Well, it’s only the world’s biggest magnetic rock, which can attract things with iron in them, and the final destination for the gang’s celebration of Magnet Mania! But there is one problem: how do they go north to get to Ole’ Lucky when they have no compass?

 

“Return to Mighty Mountain/Welcome to the Vernal Pond”

Premieres April 14; streaming May 5

“Return to Mighty Mountain” ? There is no giving up for Nature Cat and his pals. After failing to reach the peak of the Mighty Mountain, they are going to try to hike all the way up again! But this time, they have a surprise: help from an unlikely, yet extremely experienced, mountain climber to guide them – Granny Bunny!

 

“Welcome to the Vernal Pond” ? While playing in the woods, Nature Cat and his pals come across Fern, a spotted salamander who just happens to be pregnant and ready to give birth! But she needs help getting to the safest spot in the woods to have her babies, the vernal pond. Nature Cat knows these woods like the back of his hand, yet he has never heard of or seen the vernal pond. Fern cannot wait to show them why!

Watch PBS Kids 24/7

Earlier this month, PBS Kids, the pioneers in children’s programming, introduced a new TV channel and a live stream on digital platforms. PBS stations across the nation are able to broadcast PBS Kids shows like Curious George and Wild Kratts 24 hours a day on an additional television channel and offer a live stream. Kids will have their favorite PBS Kids shows during primetime and after school, or really, whenever they might need it!  

Nielsen data demonstrates that live TV is the dominant way children access video, accounting for 68% of the time children spend watching video content.  And most of kids’ TV viewing takes place on weeknights and weekend afternoons and evenings – especially within low-income families, underscoring PBS’ mission to reach all children with high quality, educational content.

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Families will be able to access the new channel on-the-go with the digital live stream which complements on-demand clips and full episodes. Viewers will be able to watch the station-branded live stream through pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Video App, which is available on a variety of mobile devices, tablets and over-the-top platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast.

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PBS Kids is a staple in our home. Since we’re constantly on the go, I love that my little guy can access his favorite shows while he’s waiting for big bro to finish up his sports. For a kiddo with speech delays and unique needs, I’m so grateful that we have access to such excellent programming at home and on the go, regardless of the time of day. Bravo PBS Kids!

 

 

Kevin Can Wait Q&A and Set Tour

Last week, I had the unique opportunity to visit the set of Kevin Can Wait, CBS’ new hit comedy starring Kevin James and Erinn Hayes. As a longtime Kevin James fan, I was so thrilled to get a closer look at what it takes to make this funny new show and to hear the stars thoughts on the story, upcoming episodes and much more.

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Just an hour outside of Manhattan, Kevin Can Wait is filmed at Goldcoast Studios in Bethpage, NY. The show’s premise revolves around James’ character, a middle aged, newly retired cop who is excited about finally focusing on himself, after years of working long hours protecting others. Much to his dismay, Kevin’s focus on himself quickly shifts to everyone else, including his kids’ various needs.

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James plays a lovable, yet flawed and extremely relatable Kevin. His counterpart, Donna, played by Erinn Hayes, is a likable working mom hoping to find her own balance. Together, their chemistry and storylines make for a comical portrayal of a middle class family and enduring the highs and lows of life.

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Our Q&A was hosted by accomplished director and equally funny Andy Fickman. Fickman read our questions to Kevin and Erinn, while interjecting his own commentary in between. We learned about how Kevin grew up in Long Island, and how his character is based off of one of his friends. Erinn shared that she, herself, is a working mom whose family is still on the west coast. She relates to the juggle and trying to make it work.

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I’ve participated in another junket with Kevin James, and just as one would suspect, he is just as funny as the characters he portrays. He’s obviously not as physical and bumbling as his comedy; he carries himself professionally and is a much more subdued person than the silly characters we know. I had no idea that he is a father of 4, but as always, I enjoyed chatting about how he loves the Mets.

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Since we have baseball on the brain with the World Series going on, one of my questions had to do with the Mets. I said, since your love for the Mets is like a secondary character in your films and shows, will there be a Mets cameo on Kevin Can Wait?

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As soon as I asked this question, it’s as if the Mets heard me over in Flushing and revealed a teaser of none other than Noah Syndergaard dressed up as a Viking on the Kevin Can Wait set. So, tonight, in time for Halloween, beloved pitcher, Syndergaard, who is also nicknamed ‘Thor’ will have a cameo as a Viking who has an altercation with Chale, Kevin’s daughter’s fiancé. When I told my husband and sons this news, I think they squealed louder than I did!

 

I’ll have more to share from my Q&A and set tour, but for now don’t forget to tune in tonight to check out the crazy shenanigans on Kevin Can Wait. Kevin Can Wait airs on Mondays at 8pm on CBS.

 

Full disclosure: I was invited to participate in this set tour and Q&A. I received a stipend for my participation. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own. 

Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert at NJPAC on2/19 + Giveaway

We truly can’t get enough of Disney in our house. Combine Disney with the symphony, now we’re talking. We have great accessibility to wonderful performances and shows in our area, including those at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

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On February 19, NJPAC will be featuring Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert. Disney Fantasia is a live performance that combines classical music with two beloved Disney movies. This performance will feature the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ted Sperling, which accompanies scenes from the animated feature films, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.

 To accompany the symphony, clips from Disney’s iconic films will be shown ion the big screen, such as Mickey Mouse as he dabbles in magic in Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the mythical unicorns and winged horses that accompany Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”). 

Bergen County’s Elisabeth Morrow School Orchestra Students will be the opening performers, where students ranging from 11- 14 years old will perform Vivaldi, Beethoven and more as the opening act. Biggie and Littles would, for sure, enjoy the magic of this show, especially seeing student musicians perform as the openers.

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Check out tickets at NJPAC for this fantastic show. And because we love wonderful shows like these, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert!

NJPAC
Prudential Hall?One Center Street?Newark, NJ ?Friday, February 19, 2016 8:00 PM
Tickets $39.50 – $79.50

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PBS Kids: A Creature Christmas and Nature Cat to Debut

As we’re getting ready to feast on turkey, our friends over on PBS Kids are getting us into the holiday spirit with some great Christmas content featuring the Wild Kratts.

On November 25th, PBS is premiering “A Creature Christmas,” which is the first hour-long holiday Wild Kratts special. In this fun special, the Kratts take a break from their fearless questing for creatures to celebrate Christmas. But when they receive an alert that their favorite critters are disappearing around the globe, their holiday celebration quickly turns into a rescue mission. Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas premieres November 25 with encore presentations on November 26, 27, 28 and 29; December 7, 18, 20, 24 and 25.

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Then, following the debut of “Creature Christmas,” be sure to check out the brand-new action-adventure series, Nature Cat. The show stars an ordinary housecat named Fred who becomes his alter-ego, “Nature Cat,” – backyard nature explorer – when his family leaves for the day. We’re already loving the energy and spunk from Nature Cat. Check out the site!

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As longtime Wild Kratts fans, I’m looking forward to this cool holiday special. We can’t wait to see what kind of adventure the Kratt brothers are up to for the holidays. Nature Cat sounds like so much fun! I totally envision our crazy cat having his own alter-ego every time he escapes the house! 

Odd-tober and Halloween Shows on PBS

We’ve been busy getting ready for Halloween over here. As we finish carving pumpkins and all the usual fun stuff, I wanted to share some cool stuff that’s been going on at PBS.


Earlier in the month, in honor of Odd Squad, PBS kicked the spooky season with a one-hour special and the return of Halloween-themed family favorites from various series! The premiere featured “Odd Squad: Against the Odds,” which will included five 11-minute stories with Olive, Otto and the rest of the gang as they solve the community’s strange problems.

 

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“Odd-tober” will continue on PBS KIDS this week with the return of family Halloween favorites, including “Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.” Favorite episodes from series such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, PEG + CAT and Dinosaur Train will also air throughout the week. Don’t forget to check out games and stream the Halloween-themed episodes free on pbskids.org and the PBS KIDS Video App.

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We’re all about that crazy Curious George and his silly shenanigans. What are your favorite Halloween shows on PBS?  

Summer Reading Fun with PBS Kids

Like so many of you, our summer has been an endless list of outdoor fun. Between summer sports and fun at the lake, we’ve rarely had time to sit in and veg in front of the tv. Before we start our day, however, I tend to do some work and let Biggie enjoy some unstructured play and reading time. Before any screen time, he has to read or create something for at least 30 minutes. So far, we’ve read a Ronald Dahl book and worked on the latest Wimpy Kid book.

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Our friends at PBS Kids are always encouraging educational fun. In fact, for this summer’s reading initiative, they sent us a kit to have a little reading party with friends. Since we’re all about integrating reading in our day, we happily obliged, and had some friends over for a dessert reading party!

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In addition to our desserts, we all hung out and shared our love of books. The older kids had fun reading to the younger kids and the younger kids loved telling fun stories to the older kids. We chatted about what makes reading so fun, and also what kinds of books catch our eyes.

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In honor of the reading party, PBS Kids sent us fun goodies to share with our guests. We loved sharing bookmarks, reading charts, badges, booklets, and yes, even books! Harper Collins sent over a selection of I Can Read books, which were perfect for my soon-to-be 2nd grader and our young reading friends. I loved that so many favorite books were included, such as Fancy Nancy and Amelia Bedelia!

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Beyond the party, our friends have been loving keeping track of their reading time and sharing what books they’ve loved. We’re well on our way to finishing our new I Can Read favorites and reading aloud to little bro!

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A big thank you to PBS Kids for sending us supplies to host our Summer Reading Party. We loved sharing the reading fun with our friends! For more information about PBS Reading programs, be sure to check them out online.

 

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Full disclosure: As a PBS Kids VIP, I was sent supplies to host a summer reading party.  As always, all opinions on NKT are our own.

Mail from YouTube: Stampy Cat’s WonderQuest Launch

As we returned home from DisneySMMC a few weeks ago, we were treated to a surprise package from our friends at YouTube.  I love the smirk on Biggie’s face as he revealed contents:

It was a signed poster from none other than Stampy Cat! It’s not every day that you get snail mail from your favorite YouTube super cat!

If your kid plays Minecraft as much as everyone else’s, there’s a chance that he or she also knows about StampyCat. In fact, at my house, I swear, my kid watches more StampyCat than he actually plays Minecraft. Don’t get me wrong, if my kid is going to be staring at a screen, I’m glad he’s watching content that I’ve approved and encourages imagination. 

If you’re not on the up and up about Stampy, then you must know that this YouTube channel stars a cat, and overviews the countless ways that Minecraft can be played. According to The Guardian, Stampy’s channel on YouTube has upwards to 5.6 million subscribers and nearly 3.4bn video views. The main audience of this channel are, not surprisingly, children.

The kids are drawn to the funny banter and easy-to-follow gameplay. As if he’s a big brother paving the way through the mines, Stampy is the kid’s virtual buddy and a bonified pop cultural phenomenon.

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With this wild success comes other great ideas. The creator of Stampy Cat, Joseph Garrett, has launched a new second channel called Wonder Quest. Guardian reported that it’s a 12-episode show of the same name that aims to blend education, entertainment and – while still shot within Minecraft – higher production values. Wonder Quest is a partnership with Maker Studios and YouTube is the official distributor.

Tube Filter reported that there will be a supplement animated series to Wonder Quest called I Wonder. The show will feature  Stampy and his friend Wizard Keen further explore the educational topics presented in the flagship series. Both shows will be hosted on the new Wonder Quest channel.

Finally, Garrett’s Side Quest series contains eight episodes of Let’s Play-style videos where Stampy and his friends play games in maps featured in Wonder QuestSide Quest will be hosted on Garrett’s original Stampylonghead channel, which boasts over 5.6 million subscribers.

After watching an episode or two, I think Stampy is here to stay. I love that this show is scripted and set in the same Minecraft World, and keeps the same funny vibe that kids love. That lovable, fun tone is what keeps the kids engaged, and if that’s what it takes to mesh education with screen time seamlessly, I’m all for it.

 

 

Power Rangers Parents: Dino Charge Set for Saturday

As another installment of the Power Rangers Parents program, I have some cool insider details and goodies to share. With the Power Rangers Dino Charge final new episode before the mid-season hiatus coming up on April 4 at noon, I wanted to share all of these exciting Power Rangers goodies, too.

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Dino Charge is all about dino-fueled action and adventure this season with an action-packed storyline and new team of Rangers. After this Saturday’s new episode at noon, Power Rangers fans can continue to tune in to Nickelodeon at 12 pm and Sunday at 8 am for repeat episodes.

To help spread the Dino Charge news, we received a box of rad Power Rangers goodies including:

Raptor Zord with Charger from Bandai
Dino Charge Megazord from Bandai
GUM Power Rangers Timer Light Toothbrush
GUM Power Rangers Power Toothbrush
Power Rangers T-shirts
Power Rangers Dino Charge underwear
Power Rangers coloring books
worksheets, tattoos and stickers

Here’s a fun vlog that we created to share our Power Rangers Parents box:

Thank you to our friends at Saban and Power Rangers for sending these products to facilitate this review and help share this news. As always opinions on NKT are my own. 

 

The Cookie Thief Debuts on PBS Kids on Monday February 16

Cookie Monster is up to his regular shenanigans, except this time, he’s starring in The Cookie Thief on Monday, February 16 on PBS Kids. The all-new one-hour special follows Cookie’s adventure at a cookie art museum. When art goes missing, questions arise as to whether or not Cookie had something to do with it.

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And in Sesame Street fashion, this special focuses on important emotions and offers teaching moments. As Cookie Monster hopes to clear his name, kids learn about self-regulation concepts including impulse control, following directions and managing emotions.

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My preschooler, who is learning all about self-regulation concepts himself, absolutely loved The Cookie Thief. Not only did the 3 year old love it, but my 7 year old probably loved it even more. There was action, mystery and culture, what more could we want in a Sesame Street special? Cookie Monster’s starring role in the Cookie Thief is a fun and engaging movie for preschoolers, and one that is perfect to watch while the kids are home for school this president’s day!