ENTERTAINMENT

Bicycle Safe and Green

Smart-Trike From Dr. Toy 3D Home Theater Rough and Tumble Play New Radio Game Avengers Battle for Earth

Family-Friendly Shows

Adventures for Tinker Bell

New Generation Of Bike Lanes Brings The Green To Local Economies

(NAPSI)—A different type of bike ride is rolling across the nation. That’s the word from researchers who say more and more Americans are using bicycles for short, utilitarian trips, especially in urban areas.

Since 2000, bike commuting has grown 73 percent in the 70 largest U.S. cities. The share of bike trips made for utilitarian reasons increased 21 percent between 2001 and 2009.

To go along with this rise in bicycling for short trips, a growing number of cities are building the next generation of bike lanes. Often colored with green paint, these innovative facilities are called “green lanes.”

Green lanes are inspired by the roads in bike-friendly European countries such as the Netherlands . Unlike a regular bike lane, green lanes are physically separated from car lanes, making bicycling safer and less stressful. And, unlike a regular bike path, they are still part of the roadway, allowing riders to get to their destinations as directly as they would in a car.

Green lanes aren’t just green because of their color. They are good for the environment because they promote more biking and less driving. They also bring the green—as in cash—to local economies.

New research from Portland State University suggests that customers who arrive by bike spend 24 percent more per month than those who arrive by car. Another study in San Francisco showed that bike lanes increased the number of customers arriving by bike and improved sales for local businesses.

“Cities across the country are discovering that green lanes are one of the best transportation investments out there,” said Martha Roskowski, director of the nonprofit Green Lane Project. “More people on bikes creates more vibrant places, which translates into additional business for neighborhood shops, restaurants and stores.”

Currently, there are about 60 green lanes in the U.S. Roskowski expects that tally to reach 200 by the end of 2013. As more Americans choose to bike for short trips, this next generation of bike lanes continues to grow.

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A Trike That Can Grow With Your Tyke

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for parents or grandparents who want the best for a child. There’s a new adaptable tricycle designed to change as a child grows. It’s built in a way that lets a parent get involved while the child enjoys it and develops independent skills.

Described as the world’s most advanced tricycle, the new Smart-Trike 4 in 1 Dream—thought by many to be a great value—has patented swivel wheel Touch- Steering™ technology, which is like power steering that allows the parent to use the slightest touch to maneuver the trike.

Unlike regular strollers or tricycles, the Smart-Trike Dream has two steering modes. The first mode—external control—allows full parent control. The second mode—internal steering-is adjustable to allow more and more child independent control-which eventually can completely transform the product into a traditional tricycle.

There are a number of features that have contributed to the trike earning dozens of awards and honors, including being named a 2012 Top Ten Best Children’s Product from Dr. Toy. For example, it has built-in suspension and shock-absorbing rubber wheels for a much smoother and safer ride for the child.

To learn more, visit www.smart-trike.com.

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Taking Home Entertainment To A New Dimension

(NAPSI)—Watching movies and sports in the comfort of your own home is a great way to spend time with family and friends-and now it can be even better.

That’s because with new technology, you can now watch any 2D movie as a 3D masterpiece—you don’t have to wait for a 3D version to come along.

What You Get

Usually, 2D to 3D conversion is something of an afterthought and the resultant picture is only marginally three-dimensional. Also, with many home theater displays, the trade-off of brightness and discomfort that you get from wearing 3D glasses can make it a hassle.

Now, however, on two new projectors, converting 2D to 3D results in more dramatic and engaging pictures. You end up with an actual 3D picture worthy of the name. Fans of 3D will definitely want to try it while using their favorite 2D movies, even classics from the 1930s and earlier.

How It Works

Two new Mitsubishi projectors use proprietary algorithms to take a 2D image, calculate and interpolate multiple depth levels, and produce detailed, high-definition 3D images that create a natural perception of depth with minimum crosstalk or distortion. Content appears impressive enough to literally jump off the screen. There’s a vastly expanded color range, too; the greens of trees and cyan shades of oceans that were previously hard to reproduce can now be seen with deep, vivid hues.

As with all 3D projectors, you need active shutter glasses, but if your friends come by to watch with you, they can bring their own and enjoy the same fine effect.

In addition, Mitsubishi’s HC8000D-BL boasts rich details, even in darkly lit movie scenes or film noir and 1,300 lumens of brightness, making it a great option for gaming.

The company’s new HC7900DW projector features even higher brightness--1,500 lumens.

Both projectors use Texas Instruments’ latest DMD chip to create exciting, vibrant 2D and 3D images in full high-definition, while an ultrahushed fan means viewers hear quiet dialogue or soft music during a movie or television show, not an annoying fan hum.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.mevsa.com or www.mitsubishi-presentations.com or call (888) 307-0349. You can also connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MitsubishiDisplays and on Twitter at twitter.com/MitsuDisplays.

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Rough And Tumble Play Can Be Good, Clean Fun

(NAPSI)—Most parents have seen it before—their kids begin playing so hard that it looks as if they are becoming aggressive. However, this kind of intense physical activity can actually be good for a child’s physical, social and emotional development.

Called Rough and Tumble play by the experts, this activity is a positive and necessary form of play for children, especially boys, says Rae Pica, a children’s physical activity specialist.

“Rough and Tumble play gives boys an opportunity to learn their power and boundaries, develop competence in their motor skills and imitate their role models,” Pica said.

Rough and Tumble play can be perplexing for parents, who have to gauge when it turns to a form of aggression. The difference lies in the intent: During appropriate Rough and Tumble play, there is less risk of injury than with combative play because there’s an understanding between the players.

For boys, the closer the friendship, the more intense the Rough and Tumble play can be, so children should collaborate and agree on limits.

Parents can help reinforce those limits by following these tips:

1. Set some basic rules, such as “no touching of faces” and “no shoes.”

2. Let children be in charge of making some of the rules and enforcing them.

3. Intervene only when the play turns combative; if parents intervene too often or too soon, children won’t learn conflict resolution on their own.

4. Not sure if it’s playing or fighting? Ask the participants if they see the difference and if everyone agrees.

5. Parents should also engage in Rough and Tumble play with their children—whether it’s wrestling with Dad or “tickle fights” with Mom. The physical contact helps kids build relationships.

If play turns combative, parents can redirect the children’s energy by inviting them to race outside as fast and for as long as they can, as well as provide pillows or soft toys such as Mattel’s new Brawlin’ Buddies with which they can wrestle. “Brawlin’ Buddies offer kids a toy to actively engage with alone or with other children to foster physical connection,” said Pica.

Modeled after WWE Superstars such as John Cena, Sheamus and Rey Mysterio, the 16-inch plush figures are built tough to take a pounding that will trigger one of 10 signature phrases recorded by these athletic stars. Kids can flip, toss or throw down the figures, go one on one or form a tag team Superstar battle.

Toys such as Brawlin’ Buddies encourage children to safely re-create action-packed story lines and experiment with speed, force, cause and effect, balance and spatial relationships. “The open-ended, heroic play lets children create their own stories while also fostering the kind of active play that kids need,” said Pica. “Rough and Tumble play, when directed properly, can be a very positive experience for kids—and their parents.”

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Join The Rodeo Tour

(NAPSI)—Rodeo enthusiasts and anyone looking for a fun family or party game can saddle up and enjoy a new rodeo tour video game.

The Game

Considered the first authentic interactive rodeo experience available exclusively for Kinect for Xbox 360, “Top Hand Rodeo Tour” allows up to four players to compete in such exciting rodeo events as Bull Riding, Tie-Down Roping, Mounted Shooting, Team Roping and Barrel Racing.

Get your entire body moving as you swing your rope, shoot your gun and ride a bull like a pro in five real-world rodeo events using all the exact motions, skills and techniques required to be a Top Hand Champion. Test your rodeo skills and wit as you compete against the best in the world and then post your highest scores from the events on the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) leaderboards.

Players can strengthen their skills for the tour back at the ranch in Speed Roping, Shooting Gallery and Riding Fences minigames.

The Benefits of Video Games

Games like this are not just fun and a great way to live the dream of becoming the ultimate cowboy or cowgirl, they’re great to encourage and enhance physical fitness, as you make all the actual moves required to rope and ride.

“Top Hand Rodeo Tour” comes from D3Publisher and Panic Button for SFC Rodeo Games and it’s available exclusively at Walmart and Walmart.com.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.d3publisher.us.

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Three Steps For Fun

(NAPSI)—A trio of new video games can easily revitalize your family game night, whether your family prefers to battle it out as their favorite superheroes, adventure through magical worlds or cut a rug.

Here’s a look at all three games from Ubisoft:

• Marvel Avengers Battle For Earth: The Skrulls have landed and now it is up to you to unleash your inner superhero and defeat epic enemies in an adventure based on the Secret Invasion comic book series. In the ultimate superhero brawler, players will embody one of 20 different superheroes and villains including Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor, as well as other fan favorites. Players use motion-controlled gameplay to execute explosive superattacks, unleash devastating special moves, and battle their friends.

• Rayman Legends, named platformer of the year and winner of multiple artistic and musical achievements, is coming to the Nintendo Wii U with a brand-new action-filled adventure. “Rayman Legends” makes full use of the power of the Wii U GamePad as Rayman and his friends adventure through mythical worlds in enchanted paintings. The gang must run, jump and fight their way through each world to save the day and discover the secrets of every work of art. Using the touch screen, up to five people can play simultaneously, taking out enemies, manipulating platforms, cutting ropes to clear a path and more.

• Just Dance 4: The world’s No. 1 dance game is back with over 40 all-new hits, the coolest dances and brand-new features. The tracks come from a variety of top artists, popular genres and hot Billboard songs as well as legendary artists to get the whole family up and moving. Challenge family and friends to dance battles with Battle mode or work out with the new Just Sweat mode, which features personalized programs and a real calorie counter.

As with all Ubisoft Wii U games, if somebody wants to use the TV while you’re playing, you can simply take the GamePad into another room and use it as a stand-alone system.

Learn More

You can view all these games and more at www.ubisoft.com.

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Entertain Your Kids The Family-Friendly Way

(NAPSI)—Whether you’ll be home for the holidays or traveling, hosting parties or a guest at them, you may be glad to know it’s now easier than ever to keep kids entertained in the house and on the road.

An Entertaining Idea

That’s because they can now instantly watch on Netflix a huge range of age-appropriate entertainment on a TV, PC, Mac, iPad or game console.

Kids, parents, grandparents or sitters can scan through rows of movies and shows organized by easy-to-understand genres including superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and girl power, with simple descriptions of each plot. Offerings include popular TV shows such as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Dora the Explorer,” as well as various family-oriented movies. Kids can also recognize shows by clicking on images of their favorite characters (Big Bird, Thomas the Tank Engine) to find a great selection of TV shows and movies featuring that character.

All programs shown are completely commercial free. The Netflix “Just for Kids” tab at the top of the company’s main page leads to a special section featuring content aimed at the 12 and younger crowd. It will even personalize your kids’ viewing patterns so if, say, your daughter watches movies about horses, more options featuring horses will be presented.

To ensure a family-friendly viewing experience, without any exposure to violent or other not-age-appropriate programming, the site’s selections were picked using ratings and reviews from Common Sense Media, a leading nonprofit that provides independent, trustworthy ratings, reviews and information to help parents make great media choices.

Further Fun Ideas

• When you’re not busy, your family can create memories with new holiday traditions such as movie night: Make popcorn and cuddle with the little ones while watching together your favorite holiday shows, movies and TV characters.

• It can also be fun to find a fun holiday movie or TV episode and get in the spirit as you all wrap presents.

• For a present you don’t have to wrap, consider giving a Netflix subscription.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.netflix.com.

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The Wonder of Winter, Whatever the Weather

(NAPSI)—Even when the days become shorter and the nights become cooler, there is still time for fun. Creating some special traditions specific to each season can be a great way to spend time with loved ones. Activities and games inspired by the idea of the transformation that winter may bring can lead to hours of entertainment and can encourage curiosity about how and why the seasons change.

Here are some ideas for fun activities that parents can help organize for their kids and their friends or participate in together as a family adventure.

Outside Activities—In The Snow

Snow art: Put a few drops of food coloring into spray-top water bottles and use snow as the canvas for your children to make works of art.

Headless snowman: Help your kids build and decorate a headless snowman. Take the camera outside and capture silly photos of the kids as they substitute their own heads for the snowman’s.

Snow picnic: Picnics aren’t just for summer. Warm up in the chilly weather with hot beverages and cozy snacks to enjoy outdoors.

Outside Activities—Without Snow

Frosty: Have a team competition to create a human Frosty the Snowman. One player is “Frosty” while the rest of the teammates use toilet paper, colored construction paper, hats, mittens and other items to dress Frosty up. Prizes can be given to the team that creates the fastest Frosty, the most unusual Frosty or the silliest Frosty.

Snowball toss: Place a hula hoop on the ground as the target for the kids to aim for. Divide into teams and race against the clock (one minute) to see which team can get the most “snow balls”—crumpled up tissue paper—into the hoop.

Winter clothes relay: Bundle up for cold weather in this obstacle relay race. Place a pile of clothes in front of each team’s obstacle course starting line. On “Go!” the first player quickly puts on the clothes and races through the course, returning to the starting line. The player then takes off the winter clothes and hands them to the next teammate, continuing until each bundled-up teammate has completed the course. The team that finishes first is the winner.

Indoor Activities

Movie night: Spend a night indoors and enjoy a fun family movie that is both an entertaining and learning experience. A brand-new animated film from Disney can be a great way to inspire kids to explore the delights of snow and to delve into their curious minds. Starring Tinker Bell and available on Blu-ray™ and DVD, “Secret of the Wings” introduces Tinker Bell to a winter fairyland where a new world of adventure unfolds. For more information, visit www.disney.com/SecretoftheWings.

Winter-themed bingo and Pictionary: Create unique bingo cards on the computer with winter word or image squares (for example, blizzard, scarf, ice, snowflake) or check online for free winter-themed bingo cards available for downloading. Kids can play solo or in teams to be the first to complete a full line on a card and call out “Bingo!” To continue the theme, split the kids into teams, write down winter-related words on pieces of paper to be tossed in a bowl and play Winter Pictionary.

Snow globes: Break out the arts and crafts supplies and decorate the house with handmade snow globes. All you need are small jars with snug lids, plastic animals and trees or polymer clay to make your own figures, hot glue, a couple drops of glycerin or baby oil and lots of glitter. Follow the simple directions at www.spoonful.com to bring sparkle and warmth indoors.

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