Friday, May 22, 2015

Walt Disney Studios Kicks off the Summer with the Live Action Family Movie TOMORROWLAND

We are planning on taking a family outing to the movies over Memorial Day weekend to see the new SciFi themed movie #Tomorrowland which hits theaters in the United States on Friday, May 23, 2015.  This movie is aimed to be family viewing experience with a PG rating that is being marketed as a story that will entertain both kids from 6 to 16 plus the parents that take them to the show.  From viewing the trailers, the movie seems very much in the same vein as Back to the Future, E.T., Flight of the NavigatorNational Treasure, and The Karate Kid which were all fun live action adventures that parents could feel comfortable taking their children together for an entertaining time out for the whole family.  Hopefully Tomorrowland will live up to this billing and be a hit with our family.

Taking a cue from the Pirate of the Caribbean movies, Tomorrowland is loosely themed on a Disney theme park attraction but that is more inspiration than actually incorporated into the movie.  It is the story of a brilliant but disillusioned teen named Casey who has been stirring up trouble over her angst about the down-sizing of NASA and the closing of the installation her father worked at.  Her actions lead her to getting arrested and when she is released from a police department holding cell, Casey finds a mysterious pin included in her possession that when she touches it cause her to have visions of a futuristic world.

Casey wonders if these visions are a "real place" someplace in time or space and begins a search to find out more.  This leads her to a former boy genius named Frank who is all grown up now and played by George Clooney.  It appears as a youth, Frank was invited to Tomorrowland but did something to get himself kicked out and access to the wonderland by others from Earth shut down.  Now fearing Clooney's character will return and cause havoc the leader of Tomorrowland begins hunting down Casey and Frank with his robotic henchmen.  Where is Tomorrowland, will Casey and Frank get there, and what will they find there? We'll all have to go see the movie to find out!


Walt Disney Studios provided A Geek Daddy blog with some amusing Tomorrowland activity sheets to share with our readers that could be put to good use over the summer as a distraction during a lazy summer day or while traveling for a family vacation.  We have some activities, mazes and coloring sheets you can scroll through to select, download and print out.

These paper fortune teller games bring back memories of third and fourth grade when everyone in my class would screw around and waste time in class - so maybe summer is just the right time to play around with these.



Who is ready for a jet pack balloon race?



I enjoy doing mazes like these almost as much as my kids do.  My wife and children often tease me for looking forward to completing them on the kids' restaurant place mats when we go out to eat.



Can you spot the difference in these scenes?



Enjoy these free coloring pages! I wonder if coloring book publishers are suffering from all the free coloring pages you can find online now.  We post a lot of them on various posts for A GEEK DADDY blog make sure to come back and keep an eye out for them if that is something you are interested in.



Here are some fun facts Walt Disney Studios also shared with us about Tomorrowland that like me, you'll probably understand more after you've seen the movie:
  • When the concept of 'Tomorrowland' was just percolating in writer/producer Damon Lindelof's mind, Sean Bailey, president of production at Disney told him about a box that had been discovered accidentally in a closet at the studio. The 'mystery box' contained all sorts of fascinating models and blueprints, photographs and letters seemingly related to the inception of Tomorrowland and the 1964 World's Fair.
  • For the 1964 World's Fair, the Walt Disney Company created four attractions - 'It's a small world,'' Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,' 'The Carousel Theater of Progress' and 'Ford's Magic Skyway.' The 'It's a small world' ride is the one that people remember the most. It is quaint by today's standards, but back in 1964, it was revolutionary in how it used robotics and ride technology to create a thematically rich experience.
  • In recreating the 1964 World's Fair for 'Tomorrowland,' filmmakers were lucky to find that one of the iconic pieces, the Unisphere, was actually in Flushing Meadows, New York, standing outside of the USTA National Tennis Center. The huge globe's fountains are still in place as well as the gardens. The filmmakers dispatched a photographer to New York to take photos so that they could use the real images as a composite element in the scenes.
  • When it came to creating a city built by visionaries with advanced technologies, filmmakers knew it had to look like one and finding such a place was not an easy task. At first it seemed as though the whole of Tomorrowland would have to be built from scratch, an expensive and time-consuming proposition. But then in a series of wonderful coincidences, Tom Peitzman, the visual effects producer and the film's co-producer, stumbled upon a car commercial early on in production; the location in the commercial looked so futuristic that he recorded the ad on his phone and brought it to director Brad Bird. The location turned out to be the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, and was designed by Santiago Calatrava whose work was already serving as an inspiration for production designer Scott Chambliss. The discovery also dovetailed with director Brad Bird's preference for physical locations over virtual sets
  • For the filmmakers, the bizarre memorabilia emporium, Blast From the Past, was a fun - and nostalgic - set to create. Set decorator Lin MacDonald spent months curating the extensive display of collectibles, consisting of thousands of pieces, both purchased and manufactured by the production, and many originals - some from Brad Bird's own collection. There are shelves and shelves of comic books and items such as classic sci-fi movie posters, an original Luke Skywalker action figure from the 1970s, and even items from 'Space 1999.' The production design team literally built a store and set it in the middle of a sound stage.
  • Designed by illustrator Tim Flattery of 'Men in Black' fame, the plasma ray guns used in the comic-book store scene feature interactive light that spills out into the environment, adding to their air of authenticity. The guns were built with a very small but powerful wireless battery pack that fits on the end. Upon the actor hitting the trigger, the gun throws interactive light out the front. When the 'plasma' is empty, a red light goes on and, as the gun recharges, the lights turn blue again.
  • The Bridgeway Plaza took six months to build and was about half the size of a football field. The set was so enormous that no sound stage existed that could house it and considerable height was also required for the intended aerial work above the set and for the cranes big enough to hold the lights required to illuminate the set.  Adding to the complexity was the fact that the set had to serve different time periods over the course of the script: 1964, when young Frank first visits; 1984, the period in Casey's pin-induced vision; and 2014, when the remainder of the story takes place. This required six-week intervals between shoots to allow the production design crew time to redress and alter the set for each time period.
  • The film started principal photography on a farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta, where the filmmakers paid a farmer to grow winter wheat that had a particular shade of amber - director Brad Bird's vision of rural perfection. Then the crew moved to a farm in Enderby, in British Columbia's Okanagan, to shoot the Walker farm and its cornfields, also grown specifically for the production.
  • In addition to sets in Spain and Canada, locations included the 'It's a small world' ride at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., a beach in the Bahamas and a second-unit shoot in Paris. In total, the film had over 90 different combinations of sets and locations, and moved ten times.


If you are looking for an intellectual stimulating movie that will be a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars than Tomorrowland most likely won't be your cup of tea, but if you are looking for a movie that your whole family can just sit back and enjoy a fun adventure while scarfing down some popcorn I have a pretty good feeling this will be a good movie to enjoy during your kids' summer break.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Goodwill Thrift Store PSA "Donate Stuff.Create Jobs" & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Bloggin' Mamas. I was not financially compensated for sharing this information.
  Win a $100 Amazon Giftcard


Donate stuff. Create jobs.

There’s never a bad time to clear the clutter out of your home or garage or to do a wardrobe purge. When you donate your stuff to Goodwill, the revenue from the sale of your donations helps fund job training and placement opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages directly in your community. That’s cleaning with a purpose.

Goodwill in currently running the “Donate Stuff. Create Jobs” campaign. Thanks to the programs and support services made possible by donations of clothes and household items, more than 261,000 people earned jobs in 2013 – that’s one person finding a job every 27 seconds of every business day. So you’re literally donating your stuff AND helping to create jobs. Check out this quick PSA:



You can even calculate how much your donation helps your local community by using Goodwill’s Donation Impact Calculator. Simply input the items you’re donating to calculate the number of hours of career counseling, on-the-job training, résumé preparation, financial planning classes, and other services you’ve helped provide someone facing challenges to finding employment. I'm happy to be able to join my friends at the Bloggin' Mamas blogger network in supporting the Ad Council in spreading the word about Goodwill®, by sponsoring this $100 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway. It runs 5/19/15 12:01am EST through 6/2/15 at 11:59pm EST, and is open to US residents 18+. ENTER BELOW!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. If you have any questions please email info@blogginmamas.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Free Swag at Comic Book Shops in June from DC Entertainment

 
Wednesdays are New Comic Book Day each week every month throughout the year.  To help keep customers regularly coming through retail store doors and to assist publishers with managing their workload and production the distribution of new comic book issues are scheduled so that releases are evenly spread out throughout the month hitting store shelves on Wednesday.  So comic fans are guaranteed that on most Wednesdays they'll be able to find something brand new to pick up and read if they swing by their neighborhood comic book store.

DC Entertainment has had their comic book series on hiatus in April and May this year as they've focused efforts on promoting several mini-series tied together through a storyline called Convergence during that time span.  At the conclusion of the two month Convergence campaign, 25 of DC's popular monthly titles that existed before the Convergence event will continue again at the point where they left off at in March 2015 plus 24 brand new monthly series will begin with their first issues in June.  To promote the return of fan favorite titles like Batman, The Flash, Superman, and Wonder Woman plus kick off the new serials featuring characters such as Black Canary, Starfire and Bat-Mite, each Wednesday in June DC Entertainment will be giving away FREE swag like posters, temporary tattoos, and cardboard super hero masks at participating retailers.

On June 3rd, DC Entertainment will be distributing Justice League Darkseid vs. Anti-Monitor 11” x 17” posters with art by Jason Fabok; Batman Beyond paper masks; Bat-Mite temporary tattoos; and Bizarro temporary tattoos.



June 10th will feature a Batman 11” x 17” armor blueprint poster; Harley Quinn masks; Starfire 5” x 7” postcards; and Gotham Academy crest stickers.



The promo items for June 17 will be  Justice League Of America 22” x 34” posters with art by Bryan Hitch; Black Canary 11” x 17” concert posters; Robin: Son of Batman paper domino masks; and Prez bumper stickers.

Wrapping up the month on June 24th will be a Superman Daily Planet Replica edition; Grayson Spyral ID cards; We Are…Robin temporary tattoos; and Batgirl paper masks.


Look for these free promotional items on New Comic Book Day each week throughout the month of June.  These aren't extravagant but still these fun little items will probably thrill most kids and put smiles on their faces. I know my kids always love temporary tattoos and would have a lot of fun playing around with these character masks. Oh, and I think that Darkseid poster is pretty darn cool myself!  CLICK HERE to find a comic book shop near you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Have Your Kids Unleash Their Inner Super Hero

It was nice weather outside the other day and my kids were being rambunctious inside the house.  When I urged them to go out and play they whined back at me "there's nothing to do in the backyard."  I urged them to use their imagination as they were ushered outside.  It didn't take long for me to hear them having fun as they started to pretend they were the Avengers and imagining they were on an adventure to save the planet.

My son threw on his Iron Man Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron Hero Mask and Iron Man Arc FX Armor and was racing around the backyard pretending to blast apart the robotic hoards of the villainous Ultron's cybernetic army.  Hasbro's Arc FX armor provides kids with a pair of articulated gloves that assists them in role playing by featuring a light-up repulsor with sound effects so they can blast into their imaginary battles like Iron Man.  Raising your hand activates lights and blasting sound effects.  Meanwhile my daughter was pretending to be the Fantastic Four's invisible woman so she could ignore my son and stay out of the fray.


Iron Man next stumbled upon Thor's mighty battle hammer Mjolnir and tested himself to see if he was worthy to hold the famed weapon.  He used all the power of Iron Man's armor but was unable to budge the hammer from where it rested.  This peaked my little girl's interest who wandered over and without a bit of hesitation hoisted Mjolnir into the air.  That action transformed a six year old kindergartener into the mighty Thor!


Thor and Iron Man then teamed up to tackle a variety of challenges as they leaped, rolled, and wrestled their way through an imaginary adventure.  They spent about 2 hours outside on a nice spring day playing Avengers.  These role playing Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron toys from Hasbro were really a nice enticement to encourage my kids to get outside and play in a fun way that also got them some exercise and spurred their imaginations.


According to a post in Scholastic's parenting blog, pretend play, like my kids Avenger's adventure in our backyard, has important learning benefits that assist children with problem solving, critical thinking, self expression and imagination. The children's publisher Scholastic notes that when kids pretend to be different characters they have the experience of "walking in someone else's shoes" which helps teach the moral development skill of empathy.  The article also mentions that pretend play can assist children with language skills as they use words to reenact a story or act out their own adventures.  CLICK HERE to read the full blog post by Scholastic on the many benefits of children engaging in pretend play.

There are also a bunch of benefits in regard to getting kids outside to play. One of the most important is that the American Heart Association recommends that children 2 and older should be involved in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activities each day to stay in good health.  Getting your kids to pretend they are super heroes is a great way to get your kids outside playing and being active!  These Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron role-playing toys really can spark a child's interest in pretending to be a super hero and spur them to run, leap, and wrestle in imaginative play.


In addition to the Iron Man and Thor gear I've show above, here are a few other Hasbro role play items in their Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron collection that can be used to #AssembleYourTeam and help your child unleash his or her imagination to join the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Super Heroes.


 AVENGERS HERO MASKS
Wear the Hulk's scowl, Captain America's iconic 'A', Iron Man's flip up visor, or Thor's helmet to suit up as your favorite Avenger.  Recommended for children ages 5 & up.


HULK GAMMA GRIP FISTS
These foam hands let kids imagine battling evil like the most powerful member of the Avengers: the Hulk!  Recommended for children ages 4 & up.



CAPTAIN AMERICA STAR LAUNCH SHIELD
Pull the rip cord to deploy the shield's center disc and send it flying for a surprise attack.   Recommended for children ages 6 & up.

These toys are available at most major retailers and on HasbroToyShop.com 

Avengers Assemble! Get out there and have some fun adventures of your own!

DISCLAIMER I was not provided any financial compensation for publishing this post and there was no promise made to Hasbro that if they provided complimentary products that they would receive a positive review or in fact any post on this blog at all.  Opinions and views expressed in this post are my own.  Some of the product information and photographs used in this post were provided to A Geek Daddy blog by Hasbro.  A Geek Daddy blog was provided some complimentary products that were utilized in this post.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Xfinity Kids Sale Kicks Off Summer Movie & TV Viewing



Wow! Summer is going to be here before you know it and kids across the country are soon going to begin the annual extended break from school.  While hopefully a lot of that time will be spent having fun and playing outdoors, there will be those incredibly hot days, rained out times, and moments when mom and dad might just be tuckered out and want the kids to give them a little peace and quiet where a nice kids friendly movie would really come in handy.  Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend Comcast Xfinity subscribers can take advantage of a special sale on digital downloads featuring some great kid friendly selections that families can enjoy over the summer break.



From May 19-25, Comcast customers can browse the virtual aisles of the Xfinity Digital Store and stock up on a collection of the best and newest kids’ releases at discounted sale prices.  Headlining this sale will be a special SpongeBob Squarepants promotion.  Beginning Tuesday, May 19th, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, will be available to own through Xfinity On Demand two weeks before it is released on blu-ray & dvd plus during this Summer Kids Sale both this film and the original Spongebob Squarepants Movie can be purchased as a high definition HD digital download combo for the price of one at $19.99.

Additionally, the sale will feature a great collection of kids' titles including the new Annie movie, The Boxtrolls, Earth to Echo, the two Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies, and Lego DC Super Heroes that Xfinity customers can purchase for just $4.99 HD.  With Monster High Haunted, Barbie Princess Power, and Thomas the Train Dinos & Discoveries there is something to entertain almost every kid available to pick from in this $4.99 virtual bargain bin.  With Annie (2014) normally priced at $19.99 and Barbie Princess Power, Boxtrolls, Earth to Echo and Thomas the Train Dinos & Discoveries normally priced at $15.99 for example, this summer sale is definitely a great opportunity to build up your family's home video library.


Purchases made during the Kids Summer Sale can be viewed on your television at home and are also accessible to be downloaded or streamed to your personal computer, lap top, tablet, or smart phone.  So it's as easy as clicking the flick you want your kids to watch when accessing your purchase through #Xfinity.  Whether its being rained out on a camping trip and pulling out your tablet to watch your movie in the tent or enjoying a show from the air conditioned comfort of your living room on a one hundred degree day, your selections will be conveniently available to you on the go or at your home.

The one caveat to these purchases is that if you discontinue your Xfinity subscription you'll lose access to watching them via your television though you would still be able to watch them on your PC through the Xfinity TV Go website or on mobile devices through the Xfinity On Demand Purchases app.  Just something to keep in mind when making your purchasing decision.  If you are an Xfinity customer who will have young kids at home over the summer, this is an opportunity I wouldn't pass up as these are some quality selections at bargain prices.



Xfinity customers who have children watching television should also check out the Kids Zone. When in Kids Zone, children can browse all on their own, selecting live programming, free Xfinity On Demand content, movies and TV shows purchased through the Xfinity Digital Store, as well as any saved programming on your Comcast DVR — all of which has either been flagged by the network or studio as kids programming, or deemed age-appropriate for kids 12 and under by the great folks at Common Sense Media.  Additionally, while in Kids Zone, children can quickly find recently-watched programming, browse by their favorite network and even sort by their favorite theme such as "superheroes," "princesses" or "talking animals."


What is specifically nice about Kids Zone is that parents can lock the television down so that children can't leave this mode and flip through the rest of the Xfinity channel and OnDemand offerings without a parental control pin code being entered.  No more worrying about some unauthorized movie rentals or purchases showing up on your bill or your kids being too scared to go to bed because they caught a glimpse of The Walking Dead while flipping through the channels.  Parents can also filter the programming within Kids Zone to specific age ranges.  So if you don't want your child 4 year old watching episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Monsters High just yet you can just allow then to view just programming that has been tagged preschool appropriate.  Parents can set programming to specifically cater to the following age groups:  2-4, 5-7, 8-9 and 10-12 years old.  With my having 6 year old twins that 5-7 year old category fits in really nicely for our family.

**Disclaimer**  I have been provided a complimentary subscription to the Xfinity TV Go app and access to the Comcast cable programming lineup as part of the Xfinity blogger reviewer program.   Opinions expressed are my own. #Xfinityreviewer

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Food Allergy Awareness Month Twitter Chat - Thursday May 14, 2015


 In recognition of National Food Allergy Awareness Month, A Geek Daddy Blog will be co-hosting with the Life of Dad Bloggers Network a special Twitter Chat to promote awareness and information on the topic of food allergies.  Join us on Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 9 to 10pm ET as we are joined by special guest Doctor Dave Stukus, pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Nationwide Childen's Hospital in Columbus Ohio.

During this chat about food allergies and kids, A Geek Daddy Blog will randomly be giving out four $10 iTunes gift cards to participants who are actively participating in the conversation throughout the hour.  To eligible for winning one of the gift cards that we'll be giving out every 15 minutes during the chat, participants must be following the Twitter accounts of @LifeOfDadShow & @Geekdad248 , use the hashtag #LifeofDad in their tweets, and be a United States resident over 18 years old.  No RSVP for this event just show up and engage in the conversation.


In addition to the #LifeofDad Food Allergy Awareness Twitter Chat make sure to participate in A Geek Daddy Blog's Food Allergy Trivia Contest for a chance to win a great gift pack courtesy of Comcast #Xfinity.  Answer some trivia questions for a chance to win a backpack filled with a mobile recharging kit for smart phones and tablets, coffee mug, baseball cap, and a water bottle. Must be a US resident and over 18 years old to participate in the trivia contest. CLICK HERE to give it a shot.





You can become a food allergy action hero this month by taking a moment to educate yourself on this matter and pledging to make an effort to be considerate of those who suffer from this medical condition.  If you are up to the challenge CLICK HERE to download the template to create your very own food allergy action hero costume.  Print a teal mask and a hero emblem for your shirt then cut out and wear them to have fun as you show your food allergy spirit.  Take a picture of you in your action hero outfit and tag it with #FoodAllergyMonth on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. There are adult and children's sizes of the masks available to download.

Once you have your food allergy action hero gear, take a moment to read this one page handout that contains facts about food allergies that can be shared and used to help educate others about this growing public health issue.  Download Now.


 

For more information about food allergies visit FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) at www.foodallergy.org.

DISCLAIMER:  A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of these contests and delivery of the prizes. By participating in this contest, you waive any and all liability to A Geek Daddy Blog and its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification. No P.O. Boxes are allowed as mailing addresses.  A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this contest as a benefit to our readers and as a public service to promote awareness on the topic of food allergies. Any opinions in this post are my own.

Keep Your Kids Busy & Learning Over The Summer

** This is a U.S. Family Guide Sponsored Post that I have been compensated for.  Any claim, representation, statistic, quote or other representation should be verified with the service provider, Digital Media Academy **


It is that time of year when the end of school days is quickly approaching and parents need to start thinking of what their plans for the kids will be during the summer break.  If you want to make sure your children have a productive summer check out the Digital Media Academy (DMA) which has programs aimed at tech savvy youth that will interest them and build their skill sets at the same time. Kids and teens learn computer programming, app development, 3D modeling, robotics, graphic design, film-making, and much more. DMA summer camps are one or multiple week experiences taught by industry experts and tech professionals. Campers get hands-on experience creating projects using the latest hardware and software from Apple, Canon, Adobe, and more.  To help inspire future women computer programers, scientists, and engineers, DMA is also introducing a new program this summer, Made by Girls, dedicated to empowering girls and closing the gender gap in the tech industry.


The DMA Experience from Digital Media Academy on Vimeo.

From talking with my teen aged niece & nephew, I know designing and making money from creating apps is something all the kids are into right now.  Participating in DMA summer camps can really help a kid get the skill set to put them on the right track to making their own apps. You can't beat an opportunity that lets your kids have fun while learning skills that could help them get into a career field they are interested in.

A Geek Daddy Blog readers can save $75 off summer camps at DMA with code TECHSUMMER at www.DigitalMediaAcademy.org. Sign up for multiple weeks and save big! Campers save $125 for each additional course they register for. Register by May 31,2015 to #CreateTheNext best-selling app this summer!


Founded at Stanford University, DMA is ranked as one of the ten best summer camps in the world.  Give your teen a pre-collegiate experience or build a child's confidence through project-based learning. Learn at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Questions? Call 1(866)656-3342 to speak with a Guest Service Representative or email info@digitalmediaacademy.org and mention this US Family Guide Special Offer.


DMA Summer Camps are held at college campuses across the United States. For example, in my home state of Michigan DMA is hosting its camp at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They also have programs at Northwestern University in Illinois, Harvard University in Massachusetts, Stanford and UCLA in California, and Rice University in Texas among other locations. Programs are specifically designed for children 6 - 12 or teens 13 - 17 in nine digital media specialties ranging from Programming & App Development to Robotics & Engineering.


For more information visit: DigitalMediaAcademy.org