News and reviews of children's products from Edutaining Kids.com

Pranks, Parties, and Pretend: Sims 3 – Generations

Sim lovers, it is time to get excited. The mega minds at EA Games have come up with yet another expansion on the beloved game. The Sims 3 brought with it the ability for Sim children to grow into teenagers juggling part-time jobs, adults with children of their own, and finally elders with retirement on the brain. The Sim citizens were free to jump through age groups, but something was still missing. The teens obediently went to school and did their homework. Adults experienced the joys of parenthood without the slightest hint of stress. Elders refused to reminisce about the good old days. The Sims clearly lacked a sense of realistic roundness, but that glitch is about to be rectified, thanks to The Sims 3: Generations. Kids say the darndest things, probably because their imaginations are running wild during this delicate age. Now your Sim children can exercise their creativity the way real children do. Enter the original childhood activity of make believe, complete with imaginary friends. Kids can pretend to be a princess or even an astronaut, and luckily for them, the castle or spaceship has evolved, too. Sim kids can be seen playing their games in the brand new tree house or the bunk beds they share with their siblings. If that is not enough, the kids also enjoy time spent at the playground, which boasts new equipment, such as a see-saw and sandbox. When the weather is beautiful, as it always is in the Simverse, kids can play on a waterslide in their backyard. Talk about an upgrade, kids lives are fuller than ever with all the places they can play in this expansion. The new features in childhood are fun and fairly harmless, though the same cannot be said for the new lives of teenagers, thanks to the expansion. Since when have any teens you know monotonously, yet happily, gone on their merry way to school each morning, plopped down to start their homework in the afternoon, and gone to bed without a fight? Well, never, unless the only teenagers you know live in the Simverse. If the teens had really wanted to shake it up, they might have gotten a part-time job, which of course, they would excel at, given that their angelic lack of autonomy never let them skip a shift or steal from the cash register. Sim parents are in for a real treat with this new expansion pack. Pranks and holding house parties while their parents are away are key features...

Nintendo 3DS

Here are our notes on the new Nintendo 3DS: The Nintendo 3DS boasts 3D graphics (optional) without the need for special glasses, and it’s quite stunning. It’s backwards compatible, which we love, and virtual items bought on your DSi can be imported into the 3DS. There’s a new joystick-like feature which is great, but the D-Pad is placed slightly awkwardly in order to accommodate it. The 3DS sports much better graphics than the DS. Potential buyers of the Nintendo 3DS should keep in mind that this is NOT just another DS model (as was the DSi and DS Lite). Rather, it’s a next generation DS. Essentially, it’s a DSi with considerably better graphics. Nintendo is promising an exciting game line-up, although there is not too much to choose from at the time of this writing. The 3DS comes with cute AR Cards for silly pictures, and more. Kids can take digital photos and then insert Miis and characters into them with truly cute results. Like the DS, there are two cameras and they’re low quality. The 3DS is compatible with Miis from your Wii system. There is a 3D slider that adjusts the intensity of the 3D factor, and can be turned off fully if desired. When 3D is active, it takes the eyes some adjusting to really “see” it. It’s a tad grainy and washed out, but overall quite stunning. It’s recommended that kids 7 and younger NOT use the 3D, as their eyesight is still developing, and that’s one of the reasons it’s essential to have the option to turn 3D off. But some users, regardless of age, may find the 3D distracting and disorienting. The stylus is in a slightly awkward location, and must be extended to full length in order to use it, which makes it less accessible than it is in previous DS models. However, this is something that users simply need to get used to. Perhaps the most frustrating element of the design of 3DS for Nintendo DS users is the location of the Power button. It’s in the same place as the Start/Select buttons were on the DS and DS Lite. Long-time users tend to press it instinctively and can end up closing the unit, losing their most recent progress! This is another thing to get used to.  As well, the new Start/Select/Home buttons are in a less than intuitive location and require more force to use. Keep in mind that battery life is shorter. To buy: Nintendo 3DS – Cosmo...

How to pick a portable audio player that suits you

In today’s market place, there are countless variations of a device that originally began with only one goal in mind: play music. Now of course, these devices can do anything from browsing the internet to editing word documents, but there are still a few that just give you the down to earth music playing capabilities. No video editing, no fancy touch screen. Of course, there are still a few factors to consider in buying one of these, which will be discussed below. Space available. If you are a person who hoards music, and has tens of folders worth on your computer, then you are not going to be happy to have only a few megabytes worth of space, and perhaps should aim higher, into the twenty, thirty, or even sixty gigabyte range. There is a trade off for this extra space though, price goes up and so does weight, which is no good if you want to take your player out jogging, or to an environment where you may easily lose it. Then again, if you only want an audio player that you only want to put, say, motivational songs on, and you are happy about losing it, then about a gigabyte should be fine. Ruggedness. How much wear do you think you’re going to put your player through? If you only use it occasionally, again, cheaper is better, but if you want one that will stand the test of time, you may want to invest in some of the pricier options available, as these are far more likely to be able to stand up to constant use without breaking down. Remember, a rugged player can be good for places such as the gym and the workplace, where you are more likely to drop it while moving about, it’s just wasted money if all you are going to be doing is relaxing at home. Price. Price is a big factor in deciding what audio player you finally buy, and with some available from less than $15, you really have to take the above factors into consideration before buying. Remember, the more features you choose, the more you will have to pay. Consider this: You buy a new, top of the range, $250 mp3 player. You don’t use any of the features, but you figure that you may need them eventually. The very next morning, you set out for quick jog in the park, only to lose it among the bushes. You overcompensated. Have a good idea of the features...

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