Mini Maker Faire

Barnes and Noble is having a Mini Maker Faire. I can’t wait to see what our B&N has available. I dropped by two days ago and noticed an XYZ Jr Davinci printer on display. They have it available for $349. (It’s available at Amazon a little cheaper) – We have the full XYZ printer. The Jr has a build size of 6″x6″x6″ whereas our full printer can print up to 8″x8″x8″. We do love ours (I printed our doorbell button after our previous broke).

We have tried other 3D printers and the XYZ is easy to set up and worked out of the box! I can’t wait to see what speakers and demos are happening at our Barnes and Noble this weekend.

I also picked up a Modding Minecraft book (article to come).

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Getting Kids Excited about Reading

One great way to get kids excited about reading is to find books that match their interest.  One interest around our house is Minecraft!  Thanks to free Kindle books, I’ve found a ton of free books without spending a dime.

Kindle books can be read on all sorts of devices with free apps, including your computer.  My son’s favorites are Minecraft books.  We stalk the sites watching for he books to become available.  We now have several diaries (including Ninja Steve).  Today is Minecraft Secrets Free!

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7th Guest App

Years ago, and I mean about 20 years ago, my favorite game was 7th Guest.  My husband was nice enough to indulge me and let me stay up for days playing it (doing nothing else).  You can actually now find a walkthrough with cheat codes here.  Though the game ran on Windows 95 if I remember correctly.  My inlaws (thanks Bruce and George) were playing it in Connecticut during our visit, and I loved it.  I proceeded to play until I completed the whole game.  We went on to try 11th Hour and Phantasmagoria.

The 7th Guest, produced by Trilobyte and originally released by Virgin Games in 1993,[1] is an interactive moviepuzzle adventure game. It was one of the first computer video games to be released only on CD-ROM. The 7th Guest is a horror story told from the unfolding perspective of the player, as an amnesiac. The game received a great amount of press attention for making live action video clips a core part of its gameplay, for its unprecedented amount of pre-rendered 3D graphics, and for its adult content. In addition, the game was very successful, with over two million copies sold, and is widely regarded as a killer app that accelerated the sales of CD-ROM drives. The 7th Guest has subsequently been re-released on Apple’s app store for various systems such as the Mac.[2]Bill Gates called The 7th Guest “the new standard in interactive entertainment.”[3]

In the game involves going through a house that several children have disappeared inside.  As you find unlocked rooms you are confronted with puzzles that when solved unlock movies telling a part of the tale and unlocking more rooms (with puzzles). A third sequel has been put into development (from a Kickstarter project) called The 13th Doll.The_7th_Guest_-_cover

For Halloween, Steam (yes, I always avoid it) has a bundle of the 7th Guest and the 11th Hour for a few dollars (less than $5).  I broke down and bought it myself. I also located 7th Guest  as a Kindle Fire app.


Games with puzzles are great for developing problem solving skills for kids!


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Halloween Game Apps

There are many Halloween game apps available. I happened to notice TOCA BOCA has one. – Toca Boo: You get to BE the ghost!


Being scary in a nice way

Bonnie lives with her family in a big, old house. It’s almost bedtime, and everyone is getting ready for bed — everyone but Bonnie. She has just dressed up as a ghost, and is sneaking around the house trying to scare her family as much as possible! And she needs your help!

The play design of this app is based on a game you’ve probably experienced: A giggling kid hides behind a curtain and suddenly jumps out to surprise you. The bigger your reaction, the more amusing it is to the kid.

My youngest loves the Toca apps, so we have just downloaded it to give it a try next. My youngest frequently goes back to the Toca apps (especially Toca Nature) when he is looking for something to do.  This app isn’t educational per se, but it does look fun and some reading is included.

Have a safe Halloween!

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Coding for Kids -How to Code Book   

How to Code! This book uses Scratch software to teach the coding skills to create your own computer game and design your own website.

Broken down into 10 lessons the book explains how to use Scratch coding software to give coding instructions, write simple code, and use loops; debug and fix code; and use coding knowledge to create a simple computer game and a webpage using simple HTML. With easy-to-follow explanations accompanied by clear, step-by-step graphics throughout, this is a great first coding book for middle-school children, ages 8+ interested in learning about computer science and web design.

You can download the program Scratch at MIT.

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.

This book is one of many available with tutorials to get kids started on the road to learning the foundation of a computer language. It allows children 8 (and sometimes younger) to start programming. – Moving kids from playing games others wrote to playing games they wrote themselves!

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