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Don't Miss February 2014

Family-friendly movies and games everyone's talking about.

Donald McDermott

Paint & Play

Children will be able to create an artistic masterpiece with the Paint & Play App. Available for free at the Apple App Store, the innovative app promotes creative, imaginative play by combining art, mini-games, interactions, no rules, and lots of fun! Download Paint & Play today or find out more at www.kidbunch.com.

Happy Valentine's Day

Gather round the TV this month and enjoy two, delightful animated Valentine's Day specials. Featuring Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Valentine offer the perfect ways to celebrate the holiday as a family. The shows will be presented back to back on February 8 beginning at 8pm on ABC. Check your local listings. Ready to Rock Ubisoft teaches music lovers of all ages how to play guitar with the acclaimed game, Rocksmith. The 2014 edition makes learning to play even faster, with help from redesigned menus, easy-to-follow options, and more than 50 tracks that range from alternative rock to heavy metal. Rocksmith is available now for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC or Mac.

Learning on Sesame Street

After taking a game of Hot Potato too seriously, Elmo learns that winning isn't everything in Sesame Street: Be a Good Sport. The new DVD from Children's Television Workshop offers two hours of games, lessons, and an appearance by L.A. Clippers basketball star Blake Griffin. Let the games begin at home today!

Play Ball

Created by two dad-coaches, Let's Play Football is a story and character-based picture book and app designed to teach the "fun-damentals" of the game to children ages 3-6. The app is free for a limited time and includes the vocals of the Merrill Reese and ESPN's Ron Jaworski. The colorfully illustrated picture book is available at www.letsplayfootball.com.

A Film That Clicks

An ordinary Lego minifigure is mistakenly recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant in The Lego Movie. An animated comedy adventure for the whole family, the original flick features the vocal talents of Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Neeson. The Lego Movie opens in theaters on February 7.

Action and Adventure

A bored construction worker who dreams of a life filled with amazing adventures has his world turned upside down in Tad: The Lost Explorer. Available now and featuring the voices of Ariel Winter and Cheech Marin, this animated DVD offers a hilarious, action- packed ride for the whole family.

Flashback Fun

Put away your XBOX, turn off your Playstation, and treat your family to some retro fun with the Atari Flashback 4. Honoring the Atari consoles of the 1980s, the system comes complete with two Atari 2600 wireless controllers; a Centipede poster; and 76 classic Atari games like Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, and countless others. The Atari Flashback 4 is available now.

Pony Ride

Bring every child's favorite tiny horse right into your own home by picking up the My Little Pony: Classic Movie Collection. The new DVD release features four, animated My Little Pony stories, including Princess Promenade, Runaway Rainbow, Dancing in the Clouds, and Friends are Never Far Away. Copies are available in stores and online now.

New year, new look

The popular game Minecraft has been rebuilt for the Xbox 360! The re-tooled gaming phenomenon allows players to create unique worlds right from the comfort of home. The game includes brand-new features, a tutorial mode, split screen options, and a chance to play with as many as eight players. Dig one up today.

This column appeared in the February 2014 issue.