Kids

Jan
29
2014
by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Kids, Parenting

be A man

Act like a man!

What does that even mean?

Especially today.

 

It means A LOT.

Especially since I have two daughters.

 

It definitely doesn’t mean what I thought it meant when I was making that mysterious transformation, into becoming a man. That’s certainly because most old fashioned attitudes teach our young men to stifle who they truly are and make life changing decisions for often absurd reasons and superficial rewards. That sounds like the opposite of manly to me.

 

I saw the poignant but powerful documentary from The Representation Project on goodmenproject.com. Hopefully it will aid young boys in their transformative years. To teach them what  ”Act Like A Man” should mean.

And especially what it NEEDS to mean..for all of us

Dec
11
2013
by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Kids, Parenting

Esnow1Like everyone these days, not only does this Dad’s plate overfloweth but I haven’t caught a glimpse of the plate in weeks! So when my girls had a snow day yesterday, the old man in me grumbled something about pushing much of my to do list to yet another day.

 

Though my 10 year old couldn’t hold back from getting into her winter gear, she quickly learned that her older sister didn’t share that sentiment.

Needless to say, she was not happy with that..at all.

Esnow2

I’m not sure if my youngest thought the duo’s sleigh riding reign was officially over, but she was certain that she had reached “THE WORST day of her life”.

Esnow3

Far be it from me to allow her to believe such, so on went my ski pants and out the door we flew. Today, my to do list is just as long as it was last week, but I’ve got a ten year old that went to sleep with a big smile on her face.

Calvin & Hobbes illustration by Bill Watterson

 

Aug
01
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, My Projects
Wishenpoof
Amazon Studios made the announcement yesterday that they greenlit our preschool series Wishenpoof!, along with four other kids’ show pilots.
Amazon Studios
I have to tell you that this little story has been inside my head since I was a little girl. I loved any well written, ‘magical’ book series and always wondered what it would be like if you were able to make the unimaginable happen!

 

I’ve always wanted to write for a strong female lead character who is smart, funny, caring and PROUD to be a bit girly.

 

photo: Sex & the CityDo you ever notice that “tutus” and “brains” rarely go together?

When I first saw Carrie Bradshaw working it in a tutu and writing her column, I thought – see!  There it is!  A strong, smart girly girl…

So thanks to Amazon Studios, Wishenpoof’s Bianca is our gal.

Yes, the show involves much problem solving, empathy and techniques which aid in effective decision making, but Bianca’s also adorable, fun and funny, loves adventure and well..can make anyone’s WISHES come true.

How fun am I having making this one???  SO MUCH FUN!!

More info to come!

 

related press links on yesterday’s Wishenpoof! announcement:
Hollywood Reporter
Angela's Clues
LA Times
Jul
24
2013
by: Greg | Filed under Kids, Parenting, Stuff We Love

 

Our friend, Alice, took our girls on a Cupcake Tour of New York, visiting the most scrumptious bakeries in lower Manhattan. While each shop is made up of culinary artists that offer uniquely special creations, there’s only 1 best. With that said, here’s our..

 

Top 5 List of NYC bakeriesCrumbs

#5 Crumbs Bake Shop starts off our list. Crumbs bakes more than 50 delicious varieties of cupcakes daily, including the gourmet chocolate cupcake. It’s hard to believe they started only 10 years ago on NYCs Upper Westside.

amorino

#4 Yes, it was a cupcake tour, but the finest Italian gelato at Amorino couldn’t be overlooked. When you try it you’ll understand it’s inclusion on our list!

Gelato

 

Magnolia Bakery

#3 No sugary tour would be complete without a trip to the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC for a red velvet cupcake! Magnolia has been cherished for its classic American baked goods, vintage decor & warm, inviting atmosphere.

 

[Continue to find our Favorite Bakery in New York City]

 

Jul
24
2013
by: Greg | Filed under Kids, Parenting, Stuff We Love

 

Our friend, Alice, took our girls on a Cupcake Tour of New York, visiting the most scrumptious bakeries in lower Manhattan. While each shop is made up of culinary artists that offer uniquely special creations, there’s only 1 best. With that said, here’s our..

 

Top 5 List of NYC bakeriesCrumbs

#5 Crumbs Bake Shop starts off our list. Crumbs bakes more than 50 delicious varieties of cupcakes daily, including the gourmet chocolate cupcake. It’s hard to believe they started only 10 years ago on NYCs Upper Westside.

amorino

#4 Yes, it was a cupcake tour, but the finest Italian gelato at Amorino couldn’t be overlooked. When you try it you’ll understand it’s inclusion on our list!

Gelato

 

Magnolia Bakery

#3 No sugary tour would be complete without a trip to the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC for a red velvet cupcake! Magnolia has been cherished for its classic American baked goods, vintage decor & warm, inviting atmosphere.

Baked By Melissa #2 The runner-up goes to Baked by Melissa. New Yorkers (especially my girls) love Melissa Bushell’s cupcakes! Especially the signature tie-dye cupcake, inspired from her love of the care-free rock ‘n roll culture of the 60′s & 70′s.

Molly's Cupcakes#1 And our hands down winner in the best NYC Bakery is.. Molly’s Cupcakes! While there, you can (and should!) create your very own cupcake. Pick a cake flavor, choose a frosting & then dress it up with tasty toppings.

Molly's

Comments overheard at Molly’s: “Yummy!”, “Can we live here?” and “This is amazing!!!”

Molly’s was the team favorite due to their red velvet cake and their vanilla cake with butter cream..extra sprinkles.

“Do they have swings in the store” you ask?

Of course they do!

Much thanks for a wonderful day Aunt Alice! Aside from “a daughter’s” decision to wear ill fitting footwear, the day was a complete success. The girls arrived home with full bellies & smiles.

Cupcake Walk

 

 

And wouldn’t you know it?! Richard Cohen’s Sugar Love: A Not-So Sweet Story aired yesterday on the Diane Rehm Show! Just teeing up the balance for you :)

~Greg

 

And if you have a bakery you’d like to add to our list, PLEASE let us know!

Jul
14
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Kids, Parenting

EHnBlue

Happy Birthday to my (newly) 10 year old! There are no more children with single digits in my home [sigh].

But while there’s a lot I miss about her younger years, there’s so much I have to look forward to on the road ahead.

 

Thank you for your inspiration and for being the incredible person that you are! Enjoy 10!

Jun
26
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, Parenting, Super Why!

Super Why Fan - Cole

Meet four year old Cole, undoubtedly one of Super Why‘s BIGGEST fans. When he was a year old, Cole was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.

His Dad, Adam, recently told us:

“When Cole was introduced to Super Why at 6 months old, it had been the only TV show my wife would let him watch regularly because of the positive messages it brought across for our son..

Your show has made some tough times in our house more simple..The smile on his face when he hears the opening song come on or from hearing a character’s voice is priceless. If he’s not in a very good mood or crying, instantly his attitude & personality changes.

Cole - Super Why Fan

For that, I say THANK YOU”

Adam & his wife Jennifer would love for more of the public to understand that special needs children have so very much to offer. In fact, Cole has taken some time out of his day to do some modeling and he can be seen in the Toys R Us “Differently Abled” catalog.

Thank you Adam & Jennifer for your message and especially your pictures of Cole.

Enjoy the ride Cole & we expect to see big things from you!

 

“A quarter of U.S. households have a member with special needs. More than 8% of kids under 15 have a disability, and half of those are deemed severe” -Jeff Howe/CNN Money
 
 
May
22
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Kids, Stuff We Love

App-Screenshot-iPadMy super friend Traci Paige Johnson, a graduate of Northwestern University, joined me in 1994 to create Blue’s Clues which ran for 10 years on Nickelodeon. Traci’s unique style of cutout animation became the signature look for Blue’s Clues & beyond. Today she is the co-owner/ founder of the media company, Yummico.

 

How was creating Blue’s Clues different than creating Yummiloo?

When you and I created Blues Clues, we had Nickelodeon (with their resources and money) behind us. In contrast, I created Yummiloo with scotch tape and rubber bands – not literally, but certainly in spirit. I came up with the idea and did the design & animation with my husband in our basement. Yummiloo has been a bootstrap operation from top to bottom.

 

Was there a specific instance with one of your boys that gave you the idea that “we need something about food for kids?”

I actually do remember a very significant ‘aha’ moment. When my 3 yr old, Emmet, was around one & a half, I was feeding him and he refused to eat his broccoli. Tired and frustrated, I reached into his toy bin and pulled out a little plastic gorilla. I spontaneously play-acted the gorilla swinging over to his plate, roaring: “YUM… broccoli!” Then I had the gorilla pretend to eat it. I hadn’t planned to do this beforehand, I was just improvising in the moment. But it worked! The gorilla’s interest in the broccoli changed Emmet’s attitude, and he began to eat it too. I took note. Modeling and play, when introducing new foods, is a powerful combination.

Aside from this one particular instance, I’ve felt a general frustration with the way we, as a culture, present food to kids. There are so many things out there that are working against parents who are trying to get their kids to eat right: the ubiquity of unhealthy treats, of relentless commercials, and of kids menus stuffed with only chicken nuggets and white pasta. We parents need all the help we can get.

Yummiloo came out of this frustration, and out of a realization that there wasn’t a nutrition series for preschoolers involving good stories and pre-school relatable characters. I’ve done a lot of research on this issue and it all states that the “window of opportunity is open” in preschoolers and this is the time to introduce a variety of foods. They want to model good behavior and want to do what’s good for their bodies. Yummiloo’s mission is to make “real food” as irresistible to kids as “fake foods”. I want to take the tools of visual media (like those employed in advertising) and use them to get kids to want to eat right, to want broccoli and apples and be a true “food adventurer” setting the foundation of healthy eating for the rest of their lives.Plum

 

You and I share a vision that shows for kids should be richly textured, smart, interesting and layered. How is Yummiloo all those things?

Yummiloo is a world that kids will want to jump into… and it’s made entirely of real, healthy food. The messages and curriculum aren’t “skill & drill” but are couched organically into the story. There’s hide and seek for the youngest viewers while teaching about composting for the older set. We’ve built the message of modeling healthy food into Yummiloo’s very design. It’s “delicious media…good and good for you.” Like all the shows we create, it inspires kids even AFTER the screen is turned off.

Yummiloo is so beautiful! As an artist, what was your process in designing it?

Honestly, I was really inspired by the power of advertising – by the way a gorgeously photographed burger in a TV commercial can make you want to eat a burger (or pizza, ice cream, etc). I wanted to take the tools and techniques of Madison Avenue and employ them in the creation of a world made entirely of healthy food. To do this, we went to the market to get the freshest foods available; we lit and photographed them to bring out their color, their shape – and their overall ‘yumminess’; then we brought them into the computer. These photographed foods were the foundation, the inspiration, out of which the world took shape.

 

Have you heard any feedback from kids? Are they asking to eat more broccoli trees?

Funny you should ask – we just got a post from a mom whose thee year-old asked for a plum while in the produce section of the supermarket… and she had never had a plum before. It’s in its early days, but kids seem sparked. They’ve really responded to the world and enjoy pointing out the foods they see hidden in the landscape. I’m encouraged. This is the perfect age to get kids excited about fresh foods.

 

[continue..]

May
22
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Kids, Stuff We Love

App-Screenshot-iPadMy super friend Traci Paige Johnson, a graduate of Northwestern University, joined me in 1994 to create Blue’s Clues which ran for 10 years on Nickelodeon. Traci’s unique style of cutout animation became the signature look for Blue’s Clues & beyond. Today she is the co-owner/ founder of the media company, Yummico.

 

How was creating Blue’s Clues different than creating Yummiloo?

When you and I created Blues Clues, we had Nickelodeon (with their resources and money) behind us. In contrast, I created Yummiloo with scotch tape and rubber bands – not literally, but certainly in spirit. I came up with the idea and did the design & animation with my husband in our basement. Yummiloo has been a bootstrap operation from top to bottom.

 

Was there a specific instance with one of your boys that gave you the idea that “we need something about food for kids?”

I actually do remember a very significant ‘aha’ moment. When my 3 yr old, Emmet, was around one & a half, I was feeding him and he refused to eat his broccoli. Tired and frustrated, I reached into his toy bin and pulled out a little plastic gorilla. I spontaneously play-acted the gorilla swinging over to his plate, roaring: “YUM… broccoli!” Then I had the gorilla pretend to eat it. I hadn’t planned to do this beforehand, I was just improvising in the moment. But it worked! The gorilla’s interest in the broccoli changed Emmet’s attitude, and he began to eat it too. I took note. Modeling and play, when introducing new foods, is a powerful combination.

Aside from this one particular instance, I’ve felt a general frustration with the way we, as a culture, present food to kids. There are so many things out there that are working against parents who are trying to get their kids to eat right: the ubiquity of unhealthy treats, of relentless commercials, and of kids menus stuffed with only chicken nuggets and white pasta. We parents need all the help we can get.

Yummiloo came out of this frustration, and out of a realization that there wasn’t a nutrition series for preschoolers involving good stories and pre-school relatable characters. I’ve done a lot of research on this issue and it all states that the “window of opportunity is open” in preschoolers and this is the time to introduce a variety of foods. They want to model good behavior and want to do what’s good for their bodies. Yummiloo’s mission is to make “real food” as irresistible to kids as “fake foods”. I want to take the tools of visual media (like those employed in advertising) and use them to get kids to want to eat right, to want broccoli and apples and be a true “food adventurer” setting the foundation of healthy eating for the rest of their lives.Plum

 

You and I share a vision that shows for kids should be richly textured, smart, interesting and layered. How is Yummiloo all those things?

Yummiloo is a world that kids will want to jump into… and it’s made entirely of real, healthy food. The messages and curriculum aren’t “skill & drill” but are couched organically into the story. There’s hide and seek for the youngest viewers while teaching about composting for the older set. We’ve built the message of modeling healthy food into Yummiloo’s very design. It’s “delicious media…good and good for you.” Like all the shows we create, it inspires kids even AFTER the screen is turned off.

Yummiloo is so beautiful! As an artist, what was your process in designing it?

Honestly, I was really inspired by the power of advertising – by the way a gorgeously photographed burger in a TV commercial can make you want to eat a burger (or pizza, ice cream, etc). I wanted to take the tools and techniques of Madison Avenue and employ them in the creation of a world made entirely of healthy food. To do this, we went to the market to get the freshest foods available; we lit and photographed them to bring out their color, their shape – and their overall ‘yumminess’; then we brought them into the computer. These photographed foods were the foundation, the inspiration, out of which the world took shape.

 

Have you heard any feedback from kids? Are they asking to eat more broccoli trees?

Funny you should ask – we just got a post from a mom whose thee year-old asked for a plum while in the produce section of the supermarket… and she had never had a plum before. It’s in its early days, but kids seem sparked. They’ve really responded to the world and enjoy pointing out the foods they see hidden in the landscape. I’m encouraged. This is the perfect age to get kids excited about fresh foods.

 

[continue..]

 

Why an app first? Do you feel a strong connection with interactive media and teaching kids about healthy foods?

When the iPad first came out, my creativity was sparked. I couldn’t help thinking that if we were making Blue’s Clues today, we’d be making it for the iPad – with real interactivity! Also, from an utterly pragmatic point-of-view, an app is a wonderful way to launch a brand fast – and for relatively little money.

 

What is your ultimate goal with Yummiloo?

My ultimate long-term goal for Yummiloo is to help foster a generation of healthier eaters – and thereby a healthier generation! In the short-term, I hope to make Yummiloo a trusted brand and a helpful ally to parents like me. It’s certainly not just a single app – but a property that will hopefully live on all devices, across all media.

Rainbow Power App

What kinds of stories do you tell in the app? What can kids and parents expect when they play it?

We have so many stories we want to tell, it was hard to pick just 1 for the first app. But eventually, we settled on the Yummiloo ‘Rainbow Power’. In it, the Yum Yums are headed to their annual carnival, but the Rainbow Machine which powers the carnival is empty. Kids at home need to help Rooty and the other Yum Yums harvest as many different colored fruits and vegetables, teaching food identification and where food comes from. Just as it takes all the colored foods to power the carnival, it takes all the colored foods to power YOU!

 

I love that you & your handsome husband Bob worked on this together. How was that different from working with me?! I was your work husband! :)

It is such a joy to work with such a talented designer, writer and big picture thinker. We’ve been wanting to do a project together for a long time & the end result has been fabulous. It’s so wonderful brainstorming ideas, stories, and characters together. Then when designing, he takes my initial sketches/ideas & does “his magic”. He translates them into the computer adding textures, shadows, and makes them come to life. We complement each other so well. He’s also the most patient person I know, letting me make infinite changes and tweaks to get it “just right.” It’s a luxury to work this way and I’m so grateful for him!

Feel free to visit Yumiloo’s website and download the $1.99 app

May
17
2013
by: Alexandra C | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Kids

 

Addi

Miss Elaina is an impulsive & imaginative preschooler. She has a big heart and even bigger ideas! Behind the adorable pigtails is the talented voice actor, Addison Holley.

We had the opportunity to ask Addison a few questions about herself and her role on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

 

Hiya toots! How old are you and where are you from?

I am 12 yrs old and live in Burlington, Ontario, which is just outside of Toronto.

 

How are you similar to your character, Miss Elaina?

I have fun playing Miss Elaina because we share a lot of the same personality traits. One being we both have big personalities! We also both love playing with our friends. Oh, & we both like doing cartwheels. However I don’t do everything backwards!

 

If you had to pick one favorite episode, which would it be?

I love them all, but if I were to choose one I would have to say the Thank You Day episode. I really liked the message it sent.Miss Elaine & Family

 

What’s your favorite book?

My favourite book is A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.

 

When you’re not in the studio recording, what’s your favorite activity?

I love to dance, hang out with my family, play with my dogs, and draw!

 

ADDISON HOLLEY is 12 yrs old & has enjoyed every second that has been spent in the world of entertainment, as her passions include voice work, on camera & live stage where most recently she played Emilie in War Horse. Currently she can be seen in many animated series such as My Big Big Friend as “Lily”, Ella the Elephant as “Ella”, and Peg+Cat as “Tessa”.

Knowing the history of where Daniel Tigers Neighborhood originates from makes it even more special knowing the role Mister Rogers played in children’s lives. Some of her on-camera work include TV series work such as Baxter and Really Me (both on family channel), a reoccurring role on My Babysitters A Vampire, & a short film “Rosie Takes The Train”.  Addison also adds dancing to her list of loves and spends a lot of her time training in all styles.