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KIWI magazine



CD: Simpatico

This acoustic “wind down” album is a collection of collaborations between singer Renee Stahl and artists ranging from actresses Maya Rudolph and Molly Shannon to singer Lisa Loeb, with a sound that reminded me of Woody Guthrie with a softer side. I loved the repetition of phrases in songs like “Everything Is Right Here” and “Gather Round,” but my favorite was Shannon singing the Peanuts song “Happiness.” (I even caught my 11-year-old humming the tune while doing his homework.) This is a wonderful playlist to put on at the end of the day as you’’re doing the dishes or taking a moment to rest on the couch before bed (on sale August 25, $14,

digital picks for kidsApp: Dino Tales

Kids can explore a prehistoric island through the eyes of baby dinosaurs with this app, which has a nice mix of activities that are user-driven (discovering facts on your own, exploring new lands, decorating your dino) and host-driven (Darwin the Dino telling kids what to do and where to go). The app says it’’s for kids ages 4 to 10 but was a bit advanced for my 5-year-old to play alone, so my 11-year-old helped him navigate and together they enjoyed it thoroughly ($4, iOs).

digital picks for kidsApp: Koda Quest

In this app, which gets kids moving around and thinking about protecting the environment, players care for a polar bear named Koda who is on a quest to save his Arctic home from global warming. It combines screen play with activities to do around the house (turning off lights, recycling trash). While the designs aren’t my favorite and it took a while to figure out how this app works, I do like that it’’s free and gets kids thinking about making a difference. My younger guy liked dressing and taking care of Koda, while my older boy enjoyed fishing garbage out of the ocean and swiping away the carbon clouds (free, Android/iOs).

digital picks for kidsDVD: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood—Daniel Goes to School

It’’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…—especially with Daniel Tiger around. Inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, this popular show for preschoolers features adorable animation, relatable stories, and sweet characters. But the best part is the takeaway mantras, such as “”You can take a turn and then I’’ll get it back.”” This particular DVD——which includes episodes on everything from field trips to school safety——is perfect for kids making the transition to school (on sale August 18, $13,

digital picks for kidsSeries: Wishenpoof!

Creator Angela Santomero——who worked with me on Blue’s Clues and SuperWhy!—teams up with Amazon Studios to bring your child into a magical world where wishes come true. Think of it as Bewitched for the younger set, in which main character Bianca uses her “wish power” to help people and spread joy. The story lines manage to feature imaginative adventures while also staying grounded in everyday situations and inspiring kids to solve problems. I especially love the strong bond Bianca has with her mother. The show skews toward girls, but my 5-year-old boy loved it (available on August 14, free for Amazon Prime members,

Traci Paige Johnson, a member of KIWI’s editorial advisory board, is a children’s media expert and mom of three. The co-creator of Blue’s Clues and Super Why!, she is also the founder of Yummico, which makes “delicious media that’s good and good for you.” 

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