Last month, Jordan and I had the chance to attend the KidzVuz Back to School Bash. The party was held as the closing event of the two-day Blogger Bash, and I am happy to say it brought the fun, for kids and adults.
In case you’re new to this world, KidzVuz is a video review sharing site for kids age 7-12. It’s the only online destination exclusively dedicated to letting tweens have their say and share their views about the stuff they love. It’s also totally safe for the kids – you don’t share any personal information, all videos are viewed by the KidzVuz team before they are posted, and there is no bullying of any kind permitted. Because of all this, parents can feel good about having their kids participate on the site.
KidzVuz is also known for having the best parties around, and there was no way my guy was going to miss that. At first, I couldn’t figure out a way to get from Blogger Bash in the city all the way up to Westchester to pick him up, and then turn back around to get into the city. “Schlep” was the word that came to mind. I took a chance and asked his day camp if they could bring him on one of their buses into the city, as I knew there were kids on routes not far from the venue. Of course they could and it worked out perfectly for both of us. I had to only walk a few blocks to get him, and shortly thereafter, he was able to experience all the fun of the party. And experience it he did!
Jordan has a KidzVuz account but hasn’t made any videos yet. He does however love watching videos from other kids, especially if they are talking about video games or technology. It won’t surprise anyone to know that his first stop inside the party was the Microsoft booth.
Maybe it was the candy? There was a huge display of beautiful, tasty sugar, and since it was gluten free, Jordan dug into it. At least at first. Then, he saw an XBox console, and all bets were off. As you can see in this quick video, he was all ears for the demo.
While he was monopolizing the XBox, I was able to chat with some of the Microsoft folks in attendance. They have a lot of fun stuff going on, and shared with me some of their tips to foster growth, learning, and, of course, fun with kids.
- Fuel creativity and create your own video game world with Project Spark. Take it from me – I used to work with game programmers and I know you can actually make a living playing video games! With Project Spark, we are opening the doors to the development process, encouraging parents and their children to build their own game worlds that let their imagination go wild while at the same time, learning the nuts and bolts that make up video game development. Play Project Spark for free on Xbox One and Xbox 360, and check in on your game worlds on your Surface tablet.
- If they love Project Spark, try out a new kind of free summer camp at Microsoft Retail Stores. Microsoft YouthSpark Summer Camps are the perfect solution, with free camps at Microsoft Retail Stores across the nation. The camps include programming designed to teach kids computer science skills in fun and engaging ways including learning how to build, publish and bring mobile games to life, as well as produce and design their own digital movies.
- If you’re looking for something a little more physical, get extreme with Kinect Sports Rivals. With the new Kinect Sports Rivals game for Xbox One, your kids can experience their favorite extreme sports challenges! Kinect 2.0 registers the slightest flick of a finger to grab the hold on a rock or pull the throttle on your jet ski, making for a rewarding and realistic sports experience that may even get them breaking a sweat.
- Make online searches safer and more rewarding with Bing in the Classroom. With a new school year comes a new, interactive way to search. Encourage your child’s school to sign up for Bing in the Classroom, a program that provides ad-free, safer, more private search in schools, daily lesson plans that ask questions that inspire critical thinking and a Rewards program that you can use to earn Surface tablets for their school! No matter what your child is searching, you can be sure that they are seeing appropriate content and learning along the way.
- Write, type and play with Surface Pro 3. Help your teen tackle their assignments and stay organized as they pursue part time jobs, college applications and of course extracurricular activities with the tablet that can replace a laptop: Surface Pro 3. Its sleek, lightweight and durable design brings together the best of a laptop and the best of a tablet in one gorgeous package, making it perfect to take anywhere from the classroom to a friend’s house. Attach one of the colorful Type Covers to turn out a term paper, or open an OneNote page with the click of the all-new Surface Pen for hand-written notes or doodles. And with up to nine hours of battery life, it will last all day at school and be ready to take on a Netflix session when it’s time to relax.
- Have fun while learning with educational Windows Apps. School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean your child needs to stop learning! Windows apps like Where’s My Mickey introduces a whole new world of physics-based gameplay from Disney. If you want to test math skills, Number Tap challenges the player against the rest of the world in a fast paced number tapping math frenzy. To disguise learning as a game even further, try out BrainPop, where your child can watch a different animated movie every day about current events, historical figures, holidays and more.
- Want to be more active? Get fit with Xbox Fitness. For Mom and Dad, try Xbox Fitness, which offers the same great tracking technology as Kinect Sports Rivals for a personalized training experience in the comfort of your living room. Choose from a library of training programs from favorite trainers like Jillian Michaels and Tracy Anderson.
- At the end of the day, stay entertained with Surface 2. With the 1080p widescreen display, Dolby® audio, and built-in multi-position kickstand, Surface 2 is perfect for those nights when watching Frozen with your child is at the top of the to-do list. Or, if your kid is musically inclined, they can stream free music and even import their iTunes playlist. Your child can get the most out of their time with Surface 2 by using apps side-by-side; keeping an eye on their music downloads while emailing friends and family in Outlook. Surface 2 also comes with Office built in, making the perfect family device for having fun and getting stuff done.
Without a doubt, I was the coolest mom in the world that night, at least in Jordan’s mind. He left the party in happy tears, crying out “I wish I could live here!” Oh my sweet boy, so do I.