Teach kids about money and finances with Tykoon #MoneySmartKid

Tykoon app for kids and moneyMy kids are getting to the age where they want to buy their own “stuff.”  Maybe it’s something I won’t spend my money on, or maybe it’s something they really want and it’s not birthday or Christmas time- my husband and I decided that we’d let them start having opportunities to earn some money in order to help teach them about finances– earning, spending, saving, and even donating.  We recently downloaded the Tykoon app onto my iPhone and my iPad to help us with this process.  You can also use this app from your computer!

What struck me immediately about this app is how it lets you customize things based on your own family values.  We have things that we expect all of us to do because we all live in this house and we are part of a family.  This isn’t something that gets rewarded monetarily, all the time, but it’s still an expectation.  All three of my kids, even my not-quite-3 year old, know to straighten their bed in the morning and clear their dishes from the table after each meal.  But beyond that, I can customize rewards- things don’t have to be monetary- it can be extra DS time, time with mom or dad, etc.

Earn You can assign your kids various tasks including recurring chores such as cleaning their room, or one-time jobs and also daily responsibilities such as their homework. You choose how to assign rewards based on your own family practices and values. These rewards can be cash or non-cash such as stay up late time.

Save In addition to putting away some of their earnings, your kids can also set up and save for a big or long-term goal. This can be an item that they want to purchase, a family vacation or trip or a savings goal for college or education. There are tracking tools built in for kids to see their progress, how far they have to go, and for visual reinforcement.

We are planning our first “big” family vacation to Orlando for January of 2013 and while the kids don’t know, I may be “saving” some of their earnings until then for their spending money, because we aren’t telling them about the trip until Christmas.  I can keep track of how they are doing with chores and responsibilities and do some rewards on the sly…

Give Learning starts with discovery. With Tykoon, kids discover and learn about dozens of age appropriate charities and also share these interest with their family and friends.

We give at church each week when we go, and have close friends who run charitable organizations, so my kids are fairly familiar with the concept of giving back- but not necessarily giving what they choose or how they choose.  I like that Tykoon helps them to discover different ways and charities to give to- maybe my son has a cause that will speak to him more than those that speak to me.

Spend On Tykoon your kids can purchase their favorite products which are delivered right to your door through our partner Amazon.com. We review every product in the Tykoon store so it is kid safe. You can be assured that your kids will not be exposed to inappropriate products as they are shopping. In addition, you can control the product categories that your kids can see. Don’t want video games? No problem. The choice is yours.

This is one part of the app that I’m not fully sold on, even though I shop online a lot.  I’m not saying its a bad thing, because in this day and age, online shopping is part of life.  But I’m not sure how great it’ll be for my 5 year old to finally earn the money for what he wants and have to wait to get it.  Like today, he’s been working hard and saving to get a Nerf gun like his buddy Noah’s, and he finally had enough- so we took a side trip during other errands so he could get it- he’s been saving a long time and while we maybe could have saved a few dollars using the app, I’m not sure how fun or rewarding it would be for him to wait for the ship time.  Also, what if they get there, and decide that the item really wasn’t worth spending their money on?   On the other hand, kids do need to learn patience!  My kids are on the younger side of the age appropriateness of this app anyway, so I think for older kids, the Amazon aspect is fabulous.  I do love that you can control the categories seen.

Tykoon helps parents teach their kids money management skills and instill strong financial values. The app is customizable to each individual family’s financial values and the virtual environment is safe, secure and private. Kids earn through jobs, chores, and tasks; save based on personal and family goals; spend in a safe environment powered by Amazon.com; and give directly to charities through Network for Good.


• Assign your kids various tasks and chores such as cleaning their room, or one-time jobs and other daily responsibilities.
• Assign rewards based on your own family practices and values.
• View and approve all your of kids’ tasks in a single place and on any device.
• Instill balanced long-term financial practices that extend into adulthood by allocating earnings to the savings and setting savings goals.
• Encourage giving to charities and help your kids discover what it feels like to make an impact.
• Teach your kids how to spend their own money on pre-reviewed, kid safe products through Amazon.com.
• The Tykoon Spotted feature allows you to have a conversation with your kids while shopping beyond the word “No”. Your kids can capture photos of items they want to purchase with the iPhone or iTouch camera. They can set goals to purchase those items or add them to a wish list for birthday, holiday or back to school shopping.


Robust Parental Controls – Tykoon has over 25 parental control and privacy settings that you control; including your kids’ connections with other kids, and access to shopping and charity categories. We also have simple and robust notifications and 24/7 alert settings that keep you informed on any activity in your family account.

Multi User Design – Many families share iPhones and iTouches between members. When using the Tykoon app, you can create unique passcodes for each parent account. If your kids use your iPhone or iTouch to use the app, we verify the identity of each family member and display only the relevant account information.

I think this app is AWESOME.  My kids really like it and are enjoying being able to keep track and enter things.  My oldest is obsessed with wish lists since her birthday is a few weeks away and she’s very much enjoying that aspect…although she seems to think she’s getting a computer and a “real” ipod…neither of which she is getting…so maybe she’ll have her first saving goal!

There’s an extra benefit for parents: if you invite 5 friends to sign up and if they stay on for one month, you will get a $25 Amazon gift card!  I invited a ton of my friends before I even realized they have this offer- because I think this is a GREAT financial tool.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Tykoon. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating

I like to call this one, WHAT was she thinking? (Wordless Wednesday)

Sometimes, as a parent, you really just have to sit there and wonder what on earth could possibly be going through their heads.  This is what our 6.5 year old came down to get help with at 9:30 on Sunday night.

the things kids do

45 minutes it took me, to get that mess undone.


What have YOUR kids done that just makes no sense at all?

Playtime is tons of fun with Nickelodeon’s Floam & Gak!

I remember babysitting my nieces and nephews all through the 1990s and playing with Floam and Gak from Nickelodeon.  It was crazy fun, the kids loved it, we all enjoyed it, and now, Nickelodeon’s Floam and Gak are back…  and they’re better than ever!

Completely reformulated to make playtime and clean-up a cinch for a new generation of families, new Nickelodeon Floam and Gak are two unique reusable compounds, each designed to encourage creative thinking and open-ended play:





•    New Nickelodeon Floam is an incredible, reusable molding compound.  Mold, fold and roll new Nickelodeon Floam into any creation imaginable – the possibilities are endless!

•    New Nickelodeon Gak is a stretchy, squishy collectible compound.  Gak can be squeezed, stretched, bubbled and more – once kids pick up Gak, they won’t want to put it down!


The Floam is tons of fun to play with although I will tell you that you DO need to remove it from the packaging and knead it for a few minutes first.  This is great for kids’ fine motor skills anyway, and fun, but also necessary for the product to perform as promised.  Once it’s kneaded the first time, you won’t have to do it again.  Each of the Floam packages comes in a reusable container and ours had a bonus little “stamp” in different, fun shapes (see photos above).  Tons of fun for all three of my kids.  Our colors were, of course, mixed up into a rainbow within 20 minutes of opening the packaging, but the kids had a blast and have been asking daily to use it since- so I’d say this product is a HIT!  We received a mat with our floam that was great- it helped the kids to contain the area they were making creations in, and kept cleanup to a minimum.  One of our colors was the red floam and that did leave some reddish residue on the mat- it didn’t stain hands or clothes past a quick wash with soap and water, though.  I think I may just skip the red when we buy more, and we definitely will be buying more. I think this would be a fun birthday gift!

The Gak is a ton of fun- one of my all-time favorite sensory experiences for kids, and such a different feel that most kid modeling compounds.  Stretchy and squishy and ohsomuchfun!  (I can’t seem to locate the pictures I have today of the kids and their Gak).   If you notice that your Gak is a bit too wet when you first open it, just set it aside and let it get some air (like wine!) before playing.  A few kneads and it’ll be good to go.

These compounds are a ton of fun for kids of all ages- even soon-to-be-38 year olds!

I received samples of these products to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own. 


Happy Nappers Deal for only $8.95!

happy-nappers-dogDo you know the Happy Nappers jingle? My youngest son does. And I was totally going to sing it for you here but I can’t remember it. Sadness! But don’t worry, I’ve got an awesome deal for you instead. Amazon has Happy Nappers on sale starting at only $8.95! Don’t forget, Amazon prices can change at any time. Plus you get free shipping when you spend $25 or more.

My son has the Happy Nappers Dog which he absolutely loves! When you turn it in to a pillow, it has a little button on the front that you can press to hear the doggy snoring. How cute is that??

Thanks Freebie Spot!

Hartford Marathon Foundation’s FitKids program

The longer I am working at being healthier (even with my too-frequent setbacks), the more my children are getting interested in and excited about being healthier.  They not only cheer me on when I’m “running” past them doing a race, but they want to go WITH me!! At 2, 4 and 6 they are still a bit too young to be participating in larger 5k events, even for just the crowds alone, but events like the HMF FitKids series are perfect for kids – the fun and exercise go hand in hand at events designed especially for them!  You can see my older kids a little tired and “spent” from a kid race last November, but they still have their green ribbons proudly displayed in their bedrooms!
The Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Youth Running Races will take place at least once a month from March to December. The races will be held in various towns in Connecticut, including Bloomfield, Cromwell, Hartford, Higganum, New Britain, West Hartford, and Wethersfield.
All HMF youth races are $10 and offer several distances (50 yds, ¼ mile, ½ mile, and one-mile) and are determined by the age of participating child. Kids may also register for an HMF 5K race at the same price of $10. Anyone under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent/guardian to participate. All participants receive a cotton t-shirt and finisher’s medal.
  • April 14th – Burn Calories for Fuel Kids Fun Run, Bloomfield
  • May 12th – CT Race in the Park Kids Fun Run, New Britain
  • June 3rd – Amica Iron Horse Kids Fun Run, Simsbury
  • June 9th – BlumShapiro 5k for Camp Courant Kids Fun Run, Cromwell
  • July 7th – Red Dress Run for Women Kids Fun Run, Hartford
  • August 28th – Old Wethersfield Kids Fun Run, Wethersfield
  • October 13th – ING Hartford Marathon Kids K, Hartford
  • October 28th – Pumpkin Run Kids Fun Run, Higganum
  • December 2nd – Blue Back Mitten Run Kids Fun Run, West Hartford
The HMF is also offering a 

 Family Fit Training Program:
6:30-7:30 P.M. Monday nights at Glastonbury High School Track
6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 7/30
$10 per child, $15 for 18+ or $25 per family
Finally, a running and fitness program the whole family can do together! This unique program incorporates exercises, walk/run track workouts and good old basic exercises. Our coaches will teach good running form while building endurance and strength during each hour session. Adults can join in with the youth group or participate in walk or run workouts on the track. The youth will be grouped according to age in a fun and friendly environment. Our goal is to make this so fun that you will not realize how much exercise you’re getting! All abilities welcome!

Kidlandia Personalized Pillowcases Review

I love Kindlandia. They offer fun personalized products that are made with great quality product and fine attention to detail. The turnaround time is quick once you place your order and The items I’ve received to date are top notch. We have a canvas in my son’s room from Radiator Springs that he just loves, and thinks having HIS Name and his sister’s names all over the canvas just make his special “Map” extra cool. Kidlandia offers licensed products and non-licensed products, but all are personalized and so much fun to enjoy.

We recently made two very special friends some very special Adventureland pillowcases designed just for them-not only can you choose to put your child’s name, but decide if they are the “king” or “queen”, and other important titles, their birthday (or other special day) is on the case as well as up to 25 special names, favorite foods, places, etc.


Join the inhabitants of Adventureland for an exciting and unique experience! Adventureland promises your little thrill seekers hours of fun! Kidlandia’s amazing personalization experience allows you to add family names, fun characters, plants, buildings and much more!. If you’d like to control the wizarding world or create an army of lovable Kreechurs, Adventureland is the right place for you!

  • Free personalization including Primary name, birthday, title, additional names (up to 25), additional characters, plants, animals, and poses.

These pillowcases are $24.95 each.  Not inexpensive, but for kids who have “everything” or for those of us who like to find different and unique gifts, this is a really cool present for any kid to get.


I received a gift code to Kidlandia in exchange for my post.  Opinions are my own.

O3 Kids Luggage Review and Giveaway

O3 kids luggage giveawayTaking a family vacation always involves a lot of planning.  It is great when my son is excited to help pack and now that he has his very own O3 camouflage luggage he is even more willing to pitch in.  When the bag arrived my son spent 15 minutes checking out all the zippers and cool features.   He really loves the front cooler pouch that is lined with “spaceman” silver insulating material.  O3 offers several designs for kids to choose from and there are loads of cool pouches and pockets.
The O3 kids luggage boasts a blend of creativity, functionality and style.  All kids luggage features a main compartment for clothing, toys and other travel items. Additionally, the inner compartment features clothing straps and a pocket large enough for books. The outside of the suitcase features two drink pockets, additional outer pocket for easy storage, a carrying handle, quality wheels, and a sturdy pull bar for easy transport.  Best of all, the front pocket is an insulated snack cooler for toting snacks while traveling.
  • Measurements: 16″ tall x 11″ wide x 8.5″ deep (40 x 28 x 22 cm)
  • Front pocket is an insulated snack cooler, ideal for snacks on the go!
  • Suitable for use as carry-on baggage
  • Inner mesh pocket for books
  • Clothing straps in inner compartment
  • Durable construction
  • Two side drink pockets
  • Additional front pocket (on front of cooler pocket) for quick and easy storage
  • Ages 3+

Meets or exceeds applicable CPSIA & FDA standards.

They have so many cute designs on their website http://www.o3usa.com/


O3 has generously offered to give one of our readers an O3 kids luggage of their choice.

O3 kids luggage giveaway
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Bananagrams® Games Review and Prize Pack #Giveaway

Bananagrams gamesI LOVE word games.  L-O-V-E them.  I’m so excited that my oldest is wanting to play them with me.  She’s tried Words with Friends a few times- she does pretty well, in my (completely biased) opinion!!  My mom had given us Bananagrams®a few years ago, and we’ve played variations on that game ever since.  Since that time, Banangrams has extended their family of games and sent us each of them for review, including Bananagrams, Appletters®, PAIRSinPEARS®, ZIP- IT® and Fruitominoes®.  [click to continue…]

EzyRoller (#Giveaway #Rafflecopter)

I have a gift idea (or anytime idea) that is fun for the WHOLE family. Well, at least the 4+ members of your family…although I think 3+ can handle it. The Ezy Roller is a cross between a bike and a scooter, and it is FUN…for anyone.  Fun like my neighbors got one “for the kids” and I think they ended up using it as much as the kids.  Maybe more?  Plus they had us come over and check it out, and then we decided, hey!! This looks fun!!  It’s all kid (or grownup kid) powered- no batteries, nothing.  So.much.fun.  Needed to get one.  Wanted to have a This Mama Loves Her Bargains reader win one to try at their house.
Seriously, though, playing together as a family is good for the heart, good for the soul, and something we ALL need more of.  The Ezy Roller is a great way to do that!!  I have yet to meet anyone, my children included, that doesn’t LOVE this thing.  Chances are, you will too! This roller is easy to assemble, easy to adjust, and really just a ton of fun. My only issue is that with just one Ezy Roller, you may have problems with people not wanting to share….so you may need two. Or three. [click to continue…]

Happy Nappers #Giveaway

Happy Nappers (aka “The Perfect Play Pillow”) are stuffed animal friends with a twist.  They can turn inside out (with a quick unzip and pull) and change into something different.   A purple palace that has a wprking doorbell- and when you unlock the “gate”, it turns into a soft, fuzzy unicorn!  There are several varieties of the Happy Nappers, each with it’s own individual style and design.  They are cute, they are fun, and oh, so soft.  They are great for playtime, but also great for snuggling up to read a book or do a puzzle, or even watch a movie.  There are 6 varieties, including a Penguin that turns into an Igloo, and at $19.99, an affordable gift idea.  Plus, a portion of the proceeds is donated to The Home Sweet Home Fund which benefits the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.

I think the Happy Nappers are a sweet, fun idea.  I am a fan of multi-purpose/multi-use toys and this defintely fits the bill.  My son suggested they make a shark that turns into a man.  I’m not sure how that would go over with most people, but it sure would be a funny Happy Napper!!

One of my readers will win a Happy Napper of their choice!! [click to continue…]