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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...

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...

How to Connect Your DSi to the Internet

Ever wanted to connect your DSi to the Internet? Well, after following the steps listed in this tutorial, you should be well on your way! First, you must check to make sure that your own or have access to the following devices: > A Nintendo DSi > A Wireless router > An Internet connection (Broadband is recommended, but a Dial-up connection will also work) By connecting your game system to the Internet, you’ll open up a whole new world for yourself. You’ll be able to play Wi-Fi enabled games against other players around the world, search the web, perform system updates, and much more. Setting up the system is actually quite easy, and only requires a few technical steps. This tutorial will be broken up into two sections, which covers setting up your DSi using the main menu or by using a Wi-Fi enabled game. Which ever method you choose will produce the same end result. Note: A lot of restaurants, hotels, and stores are now providing free Wi-Fi access, so if you are any of these places and can find a connection, go for it! Connecting your DSi (Regular method) 1. Power on your Nintendo DSi. 2. After the Health and Safety screen, you’ll be greeted by the DSi menu. 3. Find and select the “System Setings” icon. If you haven’t adjusted the order, it should be at the extreme left. 4. From here, press the over arrow 3 times (or tap the “3”) to navigate to the 3rd menu. Click on the “Internet” option. 5. Now, simply choose “Connection Settings”. 6. Select any connection that you would like to use (1-3). If it says “None”, then you can set up a new connection by tapping that option. 7. Select “Search for an Access Point”. 8. If there are any Wi-Fi connections within range, it will find the connection. Select the appropriate connection (most likely your router’s name) to connect. If your router uses a WEP key, then the DSi will prompt you to enter it. 9. It will then test the connection, checking for internet availability. 10. If everything goes right, then your connection will be confirmed and then you’ll be able to connect to the Internet from your DSi. Congratulations! Connecting your DSi (Wi-Fi game method) 1. Power on your Nintendo DSi. 2. After the Health and Safety screen, you’ll be greeted by the DSi menu. 3. Insert a Wi-Fi enabled game. Examples include Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Tetris DS, … 4. Within...

Hot Toys for Christmas 2009

Don’t forget to check out our yearly Gift Guides for Children and Families: Holiday Edition 2009. We have top ten (and more) toys, games, books, music, and more for each of these categories: Top Gifts and Toys for Babies & Toddlers Top Toys and Gifts for Preschoolers Top Toys and Gifts for Kids Ages 5 to 8 Top Toys and Gifts for Kids Ages 9 and up Top Gifts for Families: Holidays edition You can see the top toys for Christmas (and other holidays of the winter season) here: Amazon’s Top Picks in Toys 2009. Hyperdash has been selected in many toy lists each year, and it’s no wonder. We love the game that has kids thinking on their feet–literally. It’s an Edutaining Kids Top Pick as well, as it fits perfectly into our expectations for a quality “edutaining” toy. Hyper Dash puts a new spin on the term “active learning”–it promotes listening, memory, and math skills, as well as giving kids a little workout. Intense fun! For more information about this fun and educational toy, see Wild Planet Hyper Dash. Zhu Zhu Pets are one of the most wanted toys this Christmas, but their scarcity has led to toy stores upping the prices. There are many other alternatives to be found, thankfully. Some of the toys that appear on both Amazon’s list and our Edutaining Kids Holiday Gift Guides include Crayola Glow Dome which allow kids to draw on a dome and have their drawings projected onto the ceiling in full glow in the dark glory, LeapFrog My Pal Scout and LeapFrog My Pal Violet (cute little stuffies that actually say your child’s name after they’re programmed, LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table, and...

The Benefits of Karaoke for Kids

When most of us think of karaoke, we think of one of two pictures, little Asian men singing bad renditions of Madonna songs, or the tone-deaf guy with the leather jacket, disco shirt and bad comb over (as if there is such a thing as a “good” comb over) taking himself far too seriously as he desperately tries to croon his way into the heart of the girl at the bar who was kind enough to acknowledge his presence when he dropped a cheesy line though his drunken stupor. In either case, the idea of karaoke as an aid for helping your kids to succeed in life probably seems, at first glance to be an oxymoron. Bear with me though, for when you realize what an incredible tool karaoke is, you will undoubtedly rush right down to the local Y’all Mart to buy a player and some discs. Kids learning to read often find the task daunting, frustrating, and anything but fun. It’s even less fun if the other kids read better or if adults have to help them too often with the words. Karaoke is a really fun outlet. Not only are the words highlighted on a screen as they roll by, but they are words to songs with which your children are familiar. Start out with the tracks that include the singer’s voice. Seeing the words on a screen and hearing a musician they love pronounce those words correctly in a flow that makes the words mean something as they string together in a times beat will help improve your child’s recognition of words, ability to pronounce those same words when seen in other venues, and allow them to hear the proper pronunciation of those words without feeling stupid for not having figured it out themselves. It’s a fun way to learn, in a format where children have no idea that they are learning. In time, you will be able to use the music track while your kid sings the words back without the aid of the musician and in so doing, they will read the screen better than they have ever read anything before. Most people have trouble speaking in front of others, no less singing in front of others. Karaoke offers a venue for this to happen in a way that is non-threatening, and in a way that will help your child build confidence. Our voices are like instruments. In time, all but the most tone deaf will learn to play those voices with confidence....

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