Monday, January 23, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwich (not the kind you're thinking) & Nabi

Nabi just announced on their facebook page that a late March/early April 2012 software update will update the OS on Nabi from the current Android 2.3 to Android 4.0, affectionately known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The name alone intrigued me (who doesn't jump at the word "ice cream sandwich"?) and not being an Android user prior to Nabi I wanted to explore what 4.0 vs 2.3 meant (other than a 1.7 difference in numbers).

After some google searces, reading etc I feel better educated and very excited about the prospect of having 4.0 installed on my girls Nabi's in just a few months.

The current Nabi, as it stands right now is loved by my girls and I would have been perfectly content with it remaining as it is, but the improvements that Android 4.0 will bring are sure to turn this unique, kid friendly, amazing tablet into a whole other hemisphere.  Sorry competition, it looks like Nabi is blowing every other "kid tablet" away!

I think that the addition of 4.0 will make this tablet something that parents covet even more than before and kids might find their parents trying to take over the Nabi more and more frequently for their own enjoyment!

My overall assessment is that much like the updates on the Apple OS (that I am a little familiar with from having a phone and Mac computer), 4.0 Android is the latest and greatest in the Android family.  While I have been a committed Apple fan for my phone and computer for many years, my experience with the girls Nabi's and using Android on them has made me a fan of Android and I can't wait to use a Nabi once it's operating on 4.0!

The highlights that Ice Cream Sandwich offers are outlined in depth in this link below:

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Innovations from Nabi

For anyone thinking of looking at the Nabi for their kids, who already has the Nabi and wonders what new features are coming or who just likes reading blogs and is curious, here are some details about new accessories and features that are being added to the Nabi line...

All information comes from the Nabi Facebook page and internet source info shared from the CES (consumer electronics show).

As an educator, I was intrigued when I heard a few weeks ago that Nabi was working with school districts to make the Nabi available at reasonable cost, to schools looking to integrate new technology into kids programs.  This link about the Nabi Education Initiative explains more throroughly what Nabi can offer schools, teachers, classrooms and districts and schools (hint hint Concord public schools!) should check this out as a money savvy way to intergrate tablet technology into the classroom!

First up in the accessory additions is the Nabi Box.  The link below offers a thorough description of what this amazing piece of kids/families/adults friendly technology has to offer

Nabi Box and Nabi Tablet side by side

Nabi Box remote, which has an integrated mouse and full qwerty keyboard (which this mom thinks is fantastic for supporting my kids efforts to be familiar with keyboarding)

Screen shot of Nabi Box in action and its features. 

Nabi tablet in a new yellow bumper (see below for more details on new bumpers) and wired Nabi speakers.  My daughters LOVE the Laurie Berkner band and the songs that came preinstalled on the Nabi and when I showed them these photos, their response was that these will be great for having 
"a dance party!".  They love music and while I think the speakers that are integrated on the Nabi are great as is, the addition of external speakers for music listening (and dance parties!) is a superb add on that my family will get a great deal of use and enjoyment from!

Nabi Tablet in red bumper with wireless Bluetooth speakers
 (dubbed by my 6 year old daughter as hardboiled eggs- granted she was viewing this photo on my phone so I think in all fairness to the speakers, if she'd viewed them on my computer she might have gone with Ostrich eggs or something more suitable to the size of the speaker!)

 Beautiful new colors and new design of Nabi bumpers, due to be released late January 2012.  The new design will provide easier access to the power and volume buttons (and kids and their parents alike will love the new vibrant colors to go along with the already great red that comes with the Nabi)

Another view of the bumpers; my daughters are partial to the purple (Mommy is enamored with the Kermit the Frog green and might just have to buy her own Nabi to use the case with!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

These are a few of my (kids) favorite apps

Though this is unrelated to the purpose of the post, I have to share this story because it's too good not to...

Last night I took the girls to my neighbors to play for a bit and the adults hung out by a fire outside and enjoyed the crazily (but enjoyable) moderate temps in NH in January. Hooray for global warming I guess, right?! I went in to check on the little kids every so often and to be sure that the neighbors teenagers weren't feeling disgruntled being inside with the little ones.

Gracie who's 6 came and asked me if I'd bring over the Nabi's for she and her sister and I obliged. About 10 minutes later I went back in to check on everyone and found both of my girls surroundedby not just their 6 and 3 year old neighbor counterparts, but also by the neighbors' three teenagers. Our neighbors have an iPad and up until Christmas both my girls were asking daily if they could have an iPad like their pals next door (getting their Nabi's took care of the request for an iPad by the way). Fast forward to last night and the iPad was sitting unused (normally it's being fought over or someone is sitting off to the side looking anxious and awaiting their turn) on the coffee table and instead, EVERY single one of the under 18 set next door was eyeing the Nabi's! The girls were pleased as punch with themselves and were proudly showing the features of the Nabi and the games installed etc... They were great about sharing I'm proud to say and their friends were amazed at what was preinstalled in addition to what I've added since.

The Nabi outshone the iPad! Can't help but brag a little!

Now, back to the meat and potatoes of my post. I just thought I'd post about what apps my kids are particularly enjoying and my take on some of them too... This is by no means a comprehensive list. It's reflective mostly of what the girlshave been focussed on and playing/learning with/engaged with today and that's what prompted me to post...

From the Nabi store itself, some of the fan favorite apps in our house are:

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
My daughter Clara who is 3 just discovered this app today. Her sister was playing the Moron Test (love the concept, not so much the name-- as a mom who is encouraging her kids not to find words like moron entertaining, it kind of makes it hard to argue that!) and Clara wanted something similar. Enter Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. It's great for this age group because the instructions are read aloud to them as well as printed on the screen. The tasks are simple and there is instant reward in the form of the monkey jumping up and down, or kids getting brought to "choose a sticker" page where they amass stickers for their accomplishments. The tasks range from matching letters with fruit names, matching items in a memory type game, assembling puzzles etc... Each screen introduces a new challenge which is perfect for this age group since they tend to have a shortattention span. It's fun and educational all in one and runs very smoothly on the Nabi!

Color & Draw - Super Artist Edition- this is the paid version of the pre-installed coloring app that comes on the Nabi. My girls love that there are more coloring page options in the paid version, and that there are a variety of background screens to color their own canvas on. Also of note, drawings can be saved to the Gallery and accessed through there to use as screen savers (on the home screen), they can be emailed (though I haven't done this yet I see that there is option do so) and the girls just like scrolling through their galleries and showing off their artwork! My 3 year old likes this app more so than the Drawing Pad (which I prefer) because it is simpler. So, if you are in search of an artistic app for the younger set of Nabi users, this is a great choice. That said, my 6 year old, who loves and can navigate the Drawing pad app like a whiz, also loves this one. So it really is a great app for kids and parents of all ages!

Bord- This isanother art app (my girls are both art fanatics and biased as I am, I think pretty talented- at least for ages 4 and 6!). It allows you to choose from two backgrounds- a black chalkboard or old school green (whichI happen to like because itbrings me back to elementary school day memories!). Kids can choose from a variety of widths to make their "chalk" and a variety of colors. There's a sponge icon to erase and it's very intuitive and easy to use. Bord also offers the option to save drawings to photos or to share the drawings that have been done. Under share you are given the option to share via messaging or bluetooth. Both look like neat features but I have not actually tried either one out yet because I can't get the Nabi's from the girls for any extended period of time when they are up and wanting to use them themselves!

Mee Genius- Full disclosure: when I firstlooked at the MeeGenius books as I played with the girls Nabi's before Christmas, I worried momentarily that they wouldn't be enthused with the graphics because the books are relatively simple. As a parent who grew up without technology in the dark ages of the 1970's and 1980's (try mentioning these dates to a teenager as I do with those I teach and try not to laugh when they gasp and reference the 1970's as "a wicked long time ago") I love the simplicity of the books on Mee Genius. Words and sweet pictures and great story telling. Perfect. But I worried that my kids who've grown up with Pixar and ever more complex technology might whine about the pure simplicity of the books. Silly Mom that I am, I shouldn't have worried. My girls both love the books in Mee Genuis and we've boughta handful more of books from the Mee Genius store. It just goes to show that kids are really content with simplicity if it captures their attention well enough. Kudos to Nabi and Mee Genuius for knowing that long before me!

Fooz Kids University- My 1st grader, Gracie hasn't loved Math since leaving her private school and entering the world of public school and Everyday Math (secretly I can't blame her but that's a whole other blog post!). I showed her Fooz Kids U. overChristmas vacation and she is hooked. She goes to Fooz Kids U. to play math games at least as often as she plays anything else (including Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja and that's quite a testament to math I'd say!). She is so proud of herself for getting the the problems right andmethodically takes her time to check each of the possible answers to be sure she is choosing correctly. This from a 6 yr old who isn't known for a long attention span. Choosing on her own to double check her work on what she refers to as a math game makes my glow!

Learning to Draw is Fun- I bought my 6 year old a numberof "learn to draw" books for Christmas long before I discovered the Nabi and pre-ordered it. She likes one of the Princess learn to draw books Santa bought her, but by far, the learn to draw resource she sits and draws with the most is... yup, Learning to Draw is Fun from the Nabi Store. It's an app that does exactly what it says. Choose a picture and it walks you step by step how to draw it in parts. Gracie is a bit of a perfectionist (hmmm, where might that come from...) and doesn't want to "almost" get it. She wants to get it right the first time and have it be perfect. I have pointed out to her that she can go back as she draws if she thinks she missed a prior part and she can re-do it. Of course she can do this with a learn to draw book too, but somehow having it be on a computer type device makes her happier. I don't quite understand but I don't have to. Bottom line is that she loves this app and loves to draw and all I care about is that she is happy.

Drawing Pad- Confession... I love playing with this app! The graphics showing the various tools available to draw with (paint brush, marker, crayon,colored pencil etc) are so realistic that even my 6 yr old remarked that they "look so real I could take it out and use it on my paper". The sticker choices and background paper options provide a million different options to kids to allow them to create to their hearts content. It's one of my own and my girls favorite apps because it is sheer fun to use and create with! In fact maybe I'll work on this blog in a bit and go play with Drawing Pad while the Nabi's are free (the girls are napping and that leads me to the next app that I am loving just below)

These next apps come from the Amazon App Store...

SoundSleep Deluxe Edition (Music Therapy) app may be my new best friend (seriously). It is nap time in my house and for possibly the first time in her life, my 3 year old was not only willing but also EAGER to go to nap so she could listen to "my ocean"... This app is available in the Amazon App Store for $2.99. I lucked out when I found it for free as Amazon's paid app of the day in December, but even at full price, it's great. Here's what you get: a variety of custom sounds, instrumental music and the ability to pick and choose what sounds you want to play. For instance, my 3 yr old Clara, like her mom is obsessed with the beach. So, when she realized there was an image of the ocean and the option to choose sounds of ocean such as surf crashing, whale songs and barefoot walking in sand (really!) she was enamored!

Hangman- This is the free version from the amazon app store. My 6 year old LOVES it. She doesn't care that much about guessing letters that make sense (currently Q, Z and W are her R, S, T, L, N, E - not that I have watched Wheel of Fortune or have the letters that folks usually guess memorized or anything). She loves seeing the letters show up if and when she guesses correctly and likes sounding out the word that is the answer whether she gets it right or not. I can't pinpoint precisely what skills she is learning from this but clearly letter recognition, identifying common patterns of letter placement in words and good old plain having fun are among those!

Other favorites that are installed (that can be accessed by clicking on "other games" when in Hangman) are Free Checkers and Free Tic Tac Toe.

Lastly and for no purpose other than sheer enjoyment, my daughters, particularly Gracie just love playing...

Cupcake Yum- There isn't a lot to this other than fun (and that's perfectly fine with me to have mixed in with learning apps!). The girls have played a number of games like this on the neighbors iPad and I will begrudgingly admit that the options on the iPad version are a lot better than this one, but at ages 6 and 4, my kids quickly stopped being upset that it lacked some of the features and got right down to cupcake decorating when I showed them I'd bought this for them. I believe it was $1.99 on the Amazon App Store and I searched for a while to find a cupcake designing/decorating app and this was the best one I found. You can choose to "make" the cupcake from scratch (which involves dragging and dropping pre measured ingredients into a bowl and then stirring them together) or choose a pre-made cupcake. You can choose the cupcake wrappers, add the batter, bake them and then, the real treat is the decorating. Kids can add frosting and candy and toppings (everything from shaved chocolate to gummy worms) to their hearts content. Then they select "eat" and tapping with their finger, or in Claras case tapping with her finger and making argh argh argh noises, they "eat" the cupcake and start all over. For $1.99 this is far preferable to my kids doing this with real cupcakes and mom being left with kids with tummy aches later! It's a fun app that even moms and dads might find themselves "trying" out for the kids sake (yeah, that's my rationale and I'm sticking with it!)

Thanks again Nabi for all you've created and for all you continue to do. You rock!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Perspective and appreciation

I am increasingly bothered by what I perceive (perhaps I am judging too harshly... if so, so be it) as a general lack of gratitude in society.

I stop some mornings to get coffee on my way work and when I smile and say thank you to the person at the drive through I often see a look of surprise on that person's face, almost as if it is an infrequent occurance to get a thank you.

I drive through 2 toll booths on my way to and again from work each day. I have now developed a "friendship" with a couple of the early morning regulars in the lanes I travel through because I slow down, smile, say thanks and offer a greeting or have a nice day before I take off... Again, this must not be a common occurance I'd guess based simply on the reaction of my new friends...

And as this relates to Nabi, I guess I wonder, in this digital age of being able to express our opinion instantly on facebook, twitter, text, IM, email and * gasp * even face to face, whether we have, as a general rule, lost both perspective and the filter that is allowed when we take time to process what we think before we post it (and to those who know me well, yes, this even applies to me!)

Rather than posting about what they are grateful for about Nabi and what their kids love about it, there are some customers who are spending their time posting about spelling errors, complaints about what Nabi should and shouldn't be/should and shouldn't have installed etc... and it smacks to me of a lack of gratitude. I am all for constructive criticism, asking questions, seeking answers, but I think that there are ways to do it that show respect and gratitude and well, there are ways to do it that don't.

I am raising my kids to be grateful for what they have, to understand that the "gimme gimme" mentality is not one that I will support or encourage and to try (even though I, as their mom don't always do a great job of this) to see the glass as half full vs half empty. I get disheartened when I see/hear adults who espouse the opposite of these ways of living and I can't help but want to comment on it.

The Nabi is a KIDS tablet. It is not a medical device designed to save lives and causing deaths because it is not working perfectly upon start up. It is a toy/an educational device. Even when I had a Nabi that was crashing often and a number of apps didn't work, I was STILL happy with it. I can't reconcile the negativity I've read recently with how amazing the customer support and tech service has been from Nabi and I guess at risk of sounding a little koombaya ish, I'd encourage everyone who is unhappy to take a deep breath and look at the big picture before complaining.

The Nabi has been around (in the marketplace that is) for less than a month, customer service has been phenomenal and Jason Kuo, Lisa Lee and many others at Nabi have responded in record time to customer concerns. The Nabi facebook page is a site with a plethora of how to videos, customer support, friendly user commraderie, app recommendations and an unheard of degree of honesty and transparency from Nabi about updates, problem solving planning etc...

And despite all of this there are consumers (not a majority, but still enough) who can find nothing to say but critical feedback. Is some of the feedback warranted? Sure. It's understandable to be frustrated if your tablet isn't working for example, but frankly (I guess this is where I do start to judge a bit) a lot of the complaints sound like they are coming from whiny kids who got a great gift but want more and more and more and are not going to stop whining until they get it. Really? Is that how we want our kids who are using the Nabi's to behave? Of course not. Let's teach our kids to be grateful by being grateful.

What the Nabi is...
- an Android 2.2 device
- pre-installed with music (Laurie Berkner band which my Justin "Beaver" loving 6 yr old LOVES and that makes me love the Nabi all that much more!), games, websites safe for kids, videos, fooz kids university, camera, videocamera, parent access to a full android tablet, etc...
- a tablet FOR KIDS first and foremost
- a moderately priced (when you factor what comes with it it is actually cheaper than either the innotab or leappad and yet does infinitely more than either device) tablet that is NOT designed to compete with the Kindle, the Nook, or the ipod touch or ipad. It is meant to be a nabi and that is what it is.

What the Nabi isn't...
- a kindle, nook or i device... and anyone who bought one thinking it was any of these aforementioned items should take a deep breath and recognize that if you wanted a kindle, nook or i thingy, that is what you should have bought.
- a $500 tablet (frankly, for $199 it is phenomenal and comes with way more preinstalled goods than far more expensive tablets, but in terms of bells and whistles that perhaps higher end tablets have, no, it's not going to have them and that's okay).
- an overly complex tablet (which is GOOD; I wanted something as did all the parents I've talked to who are thrilled with their Nabi's, that was easy to navigate and not overly complex-- it's for KIDS afterall)

I wanted a nabi for my girls. I knew what it was, what it wasn't, even as a non tech savvy gal I was pretty clear it wasn't going to blow me away with its speed, graphics etc... I wanted a device that wasn't the leappad or innotab but which was designed for kids, wasn't going to break the bank and had educational and fun content. The complaining about "you should do this, it should have this, it should be more etc..." is really, well, irritating. The Nabi is what it is. Don't like it? Don't buy it.

Rant nearly over...

While a majority of facebook Nabians have been and are grateful, there are a handful of "well, it's great you've done X, but we still want more" and frankly this smacks of spoiled kid (but coming from adults it's just intolerable) syndrome.

Truly people, how many other companies do you know who respond the way Nabi has to its customers? I know of NONE. The closest to great customer service that I've experienced is from LL Bean and honestly, they pale in comparison to the responsiveness and above and beyond-ness of Nabi.

I hate to say it but it almost appears that this is a case of Nabi going above and beyond and because they are doing so, nothing is ever enough to satisfy some people. Most companies set the bar low and customers expect to be unhappy and thus mediocre service gets praised. Nabi set the bar high, has provided superior customer service and tech support and because they started off with the bar set high, people are complaining that it's not higer? As Nabi posted earlier this week on facebook. PERSPECTIVE.

I am grateful for a superb product, an honest company and superior customer service. And I am grateful for the nearly 1,000 facebook members who are in agreement!

Thank you Nabi!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Can we PLEASE turn off the TV mom?"

Someone call 911 because the words above were actually uttered by my daughters this morning!

Per usual Gracie and Clara were up before the sun; apparently they have farmer genes in them and I guess I ought to let my neighbors (who are planning to get chickens in the spring) know that I have 2 farm hands for hire and they are ready for work by 5 am at the latest each day! But I digress... The morning routine here most mornings goes something like this: the girls plead to watch a show and I stumble to find the remote hoping perhaps there is a leftover cup of coffee from the day before sitting on the bookshelf so that I can get caffeine in my system asap. This morning was no different.

This morning's "can we watch a show Mommy?" was followed immediately by a brief peace treaty negotiation lead by Gracie to determine who would get to sit on the end of the couch nearest the Christmas tree. Note: during the rest of the year NO ONE wants to sit at that end of the couch, but when the tree is there, it's hot property!

I turned the television on after making my typical "public service announcement" that this was the only show they were watching this morning... Everyone settled in, blankets in hand, happily watching whatever it is I found at 5 am (recollections of watching "Captain Bob Draws" at 5 am as a kid myself come over me now and then at these moments -- anyone else remember him drawing the "happy little trees" and "happy brooks" or am I aging myself?!).

I headed to the kitchen to make coffee and before I'd made it back to the living room Gracie was shouting to me and asking "can we turn off the tv so we can read on our Nabi's?" and Clara (who I think was actually content and still half asleep on the couch watching tv but who can't pass up a chance to chime in and copy her big sister) added "yeah, I want my iPad". I corrected her and said "your Nabi?" and she shook her head at herself and said "oh right, Nabi, my butterfly". At this point I thought perhaps I was still asleep and imagining things. When I realized I was awake I considered that perhaps I was hearing voices but they asked me again to turn the tv off and I tried to play off my surprise nonchalantly while inside I was screaming HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!!!!

So, off went the tv (didn't have to ask me twice!) and on went the Nabi's. Hello Kitty headphones (thank you TJ Maxx) went on and both girls tuned into Mee Genius without a second glance at the television. They listened to a few stories together, then went back to listening to their own individual ones and then independently opened their Drawing Pad app and drew pictures in peace for well over an hour.

To quote the Coffee Tawk lady on Saturday Night Live, I felt myself getting a little verklempt over all of this! (or maybe it was the lack of sleep and lack of caffeine catching up to me). In the past few days, Nabi has made it possible for me to have a peaceful car trip with my girls and now my kids (for whom tv is a rare commodity) are more interested in reading than television? Whoa!

I love the Nabi more everyday!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Car Ride with Nabi

For perhaps the first time since Grace was a baby, and certainly for the first time since Clara was born, I just experienced a TOTALLY peaceful, argument free, "when will we get there" free, whine free car ride both to and from Nashua (where I had to go to get my Macbook fixed which is another story) thanks to (drum roll, please...) the NABI!!!!!

Not only were the girls occupied, entertained, argument and whine free BUT they were eager to show each other the pictures they were taking, drawing, the games they were playing AND my hands down favorite part of the car ride (other than listening to the 80's station on Sirius radio) was listening to Grace read one of the MeeGenius books (3 little pigs I believe) to Clara and when she struggled with a few words (or perhaps was sick of reading herself) figured out how to have the story be read to them both all on her own.

Car rides aren't horrible typically, but after about 30 minutes the fidgeting, reaching across the minivan "aisle" to invade one another's space, "I'm hungry", followed by "I have to pee" followed by "this is boring" are all par for the course.

Today, we drove 45 minutes one way and 45 minutes back in total peace. I think the Nabi is singlehandedly improving both my sanity (on car trips at least) and my daughter's sibling relationship!

Not only can Nabi market themselves as a great educational/entertainment tablet for children but also as a sanity saver for mom's in minivans! (and dad's too but the alliteration worked best with mom's!)

Seriously, I loved seeing the girls problem solve and figure out how to navigate a new drawing app I'd added for them, save their work, play a few games and read books together. They had fun and the only whining I heard came when we arrived at our destination and I told them that they needed to leave the Nabi's in the car.

Tomorrow I'm headed on a day trip with the girls (their choice at the moment is Chuck E Cheese aka hell on earth & mine is Boston... we'll see who wins!)... One thing I know for sure... We will all have a happy, peaceful drive and Nabi is to be thanked wholeheartedly for that!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and the days following with Nabi

Snapshots of the girls over the course of the weekend with their Nabi's. Grace was REALLY into a show she was watching in the picture on the far left (using Netflix- and connecting to my mom's network was a breeze! Easier actually than setting up my iPhone on her network!). In the middle is Clara who is a ham for the camera (in case that wasn't obvious) and is IN LOVE WITH the drawing app! And on the far right I was bugging Gracie to let me take her photo and she appeased me :)

Christmas morning my girls, Gracie and Clara, came racing out of their rooms like kids all around the world, eager to see if Santa had arrived. I have to admit that I might have been as excited as them, if not more so to see them open the Nabi's.

Stockings were the first casualty of the morning and the girls tore into theirs like they were on some game show called "who can fling the most stuff and shriek the loudest in the shortest amount of time at ungodly early hours of the morning". Clara took the prize for flinging (out of glee) items from the stocking while Gracie once again took home the prize for highest pitch squeal.

We moved on from stockings to gifts, and eager with excitement I propped the Nabi's, wrapped carefully, in front of each of them. The girls tore the paper off and the video we took (which unfortunately shows me struggling to turn Gracie's on-- after a quick reset it turned on fine!) shows them stunned/dazed a bit not entirely sure what to make of the Nabi. I think that I had spent so long earlier this Fall trying to gently convince them that Santa could not bring iPad's to them that they weren't altogether sure whether to believe that they had their own tablets! When asked what she thought it was, Gracie first said "a tv?" and then "an iPad" (and proceeded to call it that until I showed her the butterfly on the start up screen and explained that Nabi meant butterfly and she was sold on calling it Nabi.

I won't lie-- the allure of the wrapped gifts under the tree drew the girls away from the Nabi at first and I worried that my certainty that they'd fall in love as I had with the Nabi's might not happen. They were excited, don't get me wrong-- but they weren't initially (as in the first 5 min after opening it) as wild as I wanted them to be for it.

I shouldn't have worried...

Once the wrapping that had moments before been so beautifully fitted to each gift and now filled my living room from wall to wall, and I went stumbling at 6:30 am (yes, gifts were all unwrapped by 6:30 if that gives a hint at how early my kids arise) for coffee, the girls were shouting to me to come help show them how to use the Nabi's and for the past 2 days have played with their Nabi's eagerly!

As is tradition on Christmas morning, once it reaches a reasonable hour, the girls and I head to my mom's to gather with my siblings (I am the oldest of 6-- god bless my mother!) and their families to celebrate Christmas. I asked the girls what gifts they wanted to bring. Their responses? "NABI!" and their cheap "real" make up that I broke down and bought them this year to play with when they play dress up... More about that later... Suffice to say that before Christmas was over, Clara and Gracie had decked themselves out in eyeshadow from forehead to chin and they both looked a bit like William Wallace in Braveheart before I wrestled them to the bathtub...

So, the Nabi at my mom's... The girls have just one older cousin (yeah, I am one of 6 and only my sister and I have kids and she has just one son-- what's with that?!) who is nearly 10 and both my girls look up to him and follow him around like puppies when they are all together. Well, enter Nabi. Their cousin was quietly envious but I could see him watching, patiently, longlingly as the girls navigated Fruit Ninja, Need for Speed, Netflix shows, Drawing apps and taking their own photos and videos. Gracie was more than happy to share and her cousin was ecstatic. He has a Nintendo DS and regularly plays with his mom's iPhone and for the past 2 days the ONLY device he wanted to play with was the Nabi.

One of the things I love about the Nabi is that it is something that can be used for a short period of time and provide a great amount of amusement in that period. My girls didn't ever sit for hours on end with the Nabi this weekend. They used it for 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there, carried it around and danced to the music that was pre-installed (and got their uncles in on the dance action too!)... Then they'd put it down, play outside, have a snack, do their LaLaLoopsy's hair and return to the Nabi and find something new to explore on it.

My kids, like most their ages, have pretty short attention spans. The Nabi is perfect for them (and clearly also perfect for the 10 yr old plus age set if my nephew is any indication) because it provides them instant educational (or not so educational which is fine too in limited doses) entertainment, doesn't require lengthy set up to use and can be picked up and used and then put back to rest at ease.

I was concerned at first that my nearly 4 year old Clara might struggle with the touch screen, and she did initially. As the weekend went on she got the hang of it and informed both myself and my mother that she could "do it all by myself"; and when Clara says that we know to let her be! :)

My girls had a great Christmas and spent a wonderful weekend with family and their Nabi's were a part of it from start to finish!

Merry Christmas to all!