This year has been the summer of girls’ trips with Emily and I won’t lie, having one on one time with my tween has been a treat. Emily is eleven and starting middle school in the fall. She’s at that age when parents can be very uncool at the drop of a hat but luckily that’s something that I haven’t encountered quite yet because she happens think what I do is very cool. Especially when it involves rock star treatment from women entrepreneurs who created a product she loves who invite her to their uber-cool kid-friendly events.
Following our weekend in Baltimore, Emily and I road tripped it up to New York City for KidzVuz’s annual back to school event. If you’re not familiar with KidzVuz, it’s a safe alternative to YouTube. Designed specifically for ages 6 and up, it’s easy for kids to record and share videos about the things they love all by themselves.
As a parent, I feel good about Emily and her younger brother creating and watching videos on KidzVuz because founders, Rebecca Levy and Nancy Friedman, put the safety of kids first when it comes to content. As moms themselves, they are committed to keeping their users safe by ensuring that kids are anonymous and content is kid-friendly. They employ a team of moderators (yes, human beings rather than software robots and digital video cameras) to watch every video before it is posted and read every comment before it is published to the site. They make sure nobody says or shares anything they shouldn’t and they also have their team review usernames to make sure they’re anonymous.
Emily has been creating videos for KidzVuz since she was 8 and her fun videos has made her one of their Star Reviewers! No only does she get products in exchange for her honest reviews on Amazon, sponsor channels, or the KidzVuz YouTube channel but she was also treated like a rock star at their Back to School bash!
Sporting her brand new blinged out KidzVuz Star Reviewer shirt, I set her loose with my NXMini camera to capture things that caught her eye for the KidzVuz site. While Emily had many things she loved, I loved reconnecting with favorite brands and learning about new ones.
Here’s the rundown of just some of the great brands who were in attendance and the coolest apps, fun and educational toys, and resources for parents that were showcased at this year’s KidzVuz Back to School event.
Having just spent the day at The Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before wandering the galleries to soak in incredible pieces by the masters while penning a post in my head about taking kids to art museums, I was thrilled to learn that The Met was a sponsor. Not only do they have great resources for families on their website but they were attending KidzVuz to spread the word about #MetKids, their new digital feature made for, with, and by kids. Even though it officially launches in September, you can take a sneak peek now! Emily and I are smitten with the whole kit and caboodle but especially love the videos that appeal to my art history loving self!
Always on the hunt for apps that will help streamline everyday tasks, I was glad to be introduced to Chuze, a free app that personalizes your savings based on your shopping. Unlike those coupon app where you have to endlessly search for the deals on your list, you create your list and Chuze matches products that you plan to buy with coupons. I like that the list can be shared with family members. Not only does this ensure that you’re getting everything on your list but they can access the same discounts when they’re shopping. It sounds easy and efficient and I look forward to giving it a try!
Have you heard of Mommy Nearest? While Emily was busy decorating a Sprinkles cupcake (yum!), I was reconnecting with this great website that provides hyperlocal information for parents in locations all over the country and learning about their free app is a mobile resource for busy parents on the go. Use it to find kid-friendly restaurants, urgent care centers, places with changing tables, and fun indoor and outdoor activities quickly and easily. With ratings provided by the community, you can rest assured that you’re getting accurate information about places from fellow parents who have been there, done that.
Fun and Educational Toys
Have you met Dash and Dot? Wonder Workshop’s robots are smart and fun plus they teach concepts of coding to young ages through a fantastic interface that is designed to build upon your child’s skills as they grow. With an unlimited potential for learning, I was excited to see what is coming next from Wonder Workshop during KidzVuz’s back to school event. Watch Emily’s video above to get a sneak peek!
Lego loving families who also like video games will be thrilled with Lego Dimensions. Coming this fall for all gaming platforms, Lego Dimensions combines classic Lego building with minifigs and vehicles and applies the forms to a video game. Configuring your minifigs and building vehicles unlocks different possibilities in the gaming space to encourage hands on building.
Speaking of building toys, have you heard of Laser Pegs? My soon-to-be fourth grader received his first set as a birthday gift last year and has been in love with them ever since. These cool building kids feature different colored bricks that are illuminated. Kits include vehicles, animals, and some very cool co-branded sets with National Geographic that feature landmarks and archaeological sites around the world. I featured these in my 2014 holiday gift guides and they’re definitely a favorite in our house!
Resources for Parents
Always a trusted name when it comes to internet security (download your free copy of their AntiVirus FREE 2015), AVG was there to share Magda & Mo, free interactive educational eBooks for parents and kids about online safety. They had print versions at the table along with copies of their internet security products but you can access their age appropriate titles online:
- The Pirate’s Donut (ages 3+)
- Critter and the Space Kangaroo (ages 5+)
- Animishmash and the Cyber Bullfrog (ages 7+)
I’ve done a lot of work with Domain.ME recently (like my Important Conversations to Have with your Kids About Instagram post) because not only does is about personalized domains ending in the .ME extension, but they’re also focused on the online safety of our children. They’re the perfect partner for KidzVuz who makes it their mission to keep our kids safe through the content they create, upload, and comment on. I loved the new Return.ME labels that serve as a lost and found mechanism for misplaced digital devices.
With an old fridge that threatens to die on us any day, LG’s kitchen suite was pure eye candy. While I considered my appliance options, Emily was busy learning how to make fancy lunches while LG donated $10 for every tweet I sent to No Kid Hungry, a charitable organization that is dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Their work is especially important in the summer when kids who rely on free and reduced price school meals during the year don’t have access to them in the summer.
Huge thanks to the KidzVuz team for inviting us to their back to school bash! All opinions are my own and those of Emily, my Star Reviewer!