Joco Opinion

All my kids need for Christmas are paths into other worlds

Gifts were easier when the kids were around 6 and 8 and they spent all their leisure time on one extreme of the technology timeline or the other. But now, as it looks like their personalities are settling into those of the men they’ll be one day, it’s not so simple thinking up gifts they’ll love.

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The power of siblings

How do some siblings end up like Orville and Wilbur while others skew more Cain and Abel? The answer, surprisingly, may be each other. We used to think kids' personalities were shaped by parents, peers and the genetics they arrived with. All that is true, but researchers are finding that siblings have a lot more to do with it than anyone ever thought.


High-tech toys teach STEAM through play

There's so much more to digital toys than your typical video games and computer programs. These eight innovative picks bring STEAM education to life through coding, robotics, animation, and more - plus they're a lot of fun.


Book review: 'Penguin's Christmas Wish,' preschoolers learn the true meaning of Christmas

Parents need to know that "Penguin's Christmas Wish" is the sixth book in the popular "Penguin" series by author-illustrator Salina Yoon. Here, the loveable Penguin and his family go into the forest and decorate a Christmas tree, but when they wake up the next morning, they find a blizzard has dumped snow on all the trees and their decorations and presents appear to have vanished. How they make do and have a lovely Christmas anyway is a gentle story filled with the key message that Christmas isn't just about presents and decorations. And a fun, fresh twist guarantees that Penguin gets his wish to "share Christmas with the whole forest" after all.


Family Meals Matter: Soup's on

The first day of winter is still a few weeks away, but temperatures have dipped in most parts of the country. Changing temperatures can put some folks at risk of colds and flu. To help families stay warm and healthy, we've assembled some soup-er recipes this week.


App review: Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens, excellent fairy-tale inspired puzzler

Parents need to know that Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens follows the same smart, fun format as Thinkrolls and Thinkrolls 2 with more of a story-based focus including kings and queens, dragons and castles. The scientific-thinking required to solve the puzzles has a magical tone, with flying potions, ghosts and mirrors, and magical harps to put crocodiles to sleep. The challenges require thinking and planning ahead, but kids can try without penalty until they figure it out. The levels get progressively harder, and kids must complete all of the chapters in one story before moving on to the next. As players complete each level, they collect candies and gems that unlock more costuming options to customize Thinkrolls characters. No reading is required to play, and parental information is available in 14 languages. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.


Game review: 'Lego Harry Potter Collection: Remastered,' makes a perfect gift for the Potter or Lego fan on your list

Parents need to know that the "Lego Harry Potter Collection" is an action game that's a collection of previously released titles and downloadable content. Players control characters from the books and movies and can engage in combat against humans, animals and fantasy creatures - mostly using a magic wand to zap enemies into pieces. The violence is frequent but cartoon-like. One cut-scene shows a dragon that gets a sword through its mouth. You can unlock and play as the "bad guys" from "Harry Potter" lore, too. There's also some toilet humor.



College freshman anxieties: University 101

Many first-year students are apt to return home for Thanksgiving with unsettling news about their college experiences. KU offers a course that attempts to introduce freshmen to campus resources and a sense of community
Rick Montgomery The Kansas City Star
College freshman anxieties: University 101 4:59

College freshman anxieties: University 101

9-year-old son caught his baby brother as he fell off diaper table 0:53

9-year-old son caught his baby brother as he fell off diaper table

Adorable Halloween photos of newborns in neonatal care unit go viral 1:09

Adorable Halloween photos of newborns in neonatal care unit go viral

Halloween begins with a parade at Pembroke Hill School 1:59

Halloween begins with a parade at Pembroke Hill School