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Summer Celebration Contest Backyard Party Electronic Toys

Computer Games

Sleepover Suggestions On Demand Digital Cable Playing Sports Fun In The Sun
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Recognize A Dynamic Young Hero

(NAPSI)-If you know a selfless child or teenager who has made a difference in the lives of others, there's a way to reward his or her dedication and determination.

Young people who have accomplished amazing things--both large and small--can win the ultimate summer celebration in their honor. Adults can nominate outstanding kids as part of the Nestlé® Drumstick® brand Heroes Contest. Fifty winning kids will be awarded a celebration complete with enough Nestlé Drumstick sundae cones and a fun-filled party package to host an unforgettable event for up to 50 family and friends.

"Entries will be judged on the child or teenager's accomplishments, as well as the originality and creativity used to achieve their goals," said John Harrison, Official Ice Cream Taster for the brand.

Last year's winners expressed kindness beyond their years. For example, Hannah Tachouet, age 13, from Sebastopol, CA, collected over 25 bags of clothing and $1,100 for a women's shelter. When delivering the donation, she learned that the shelter had no money to purchase breakfast for the week and that many women were going hungry. Struck by the fact that members of her own community were going without this basic need, Tachouet continues to donate to the organization, and to speak to her peers about the importance of giving.

Contest entry forms are available to download at www.drumstick.com. Submit your story (150 to 500 words), along with the completed entry form, describing why the child deserves to be honored. Adults over the age of 18 may nominate children between 6 and 17 years of age who are residents of the United States. Official contest rules are online. All entries must be received by September 15, 2010. Winning children will be notified by phone and/or mail each month throughout the contest.

Creamy, crunchy, chocolatey Nestlé Drumstick sundae cones are available at grocery stores and other retail locations in both full-size cones and snack-sized Lil' Drums™ cones. What's more, the sweet and timeless flavors of S'mores and Caramel are now available in a Variety Pack of 10 snack-size cones. Perhaps even better, each cone is 120 calories or less.

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Throw The Ultimate "Backyard Getaway"

(NAPSI)-In response to the economy, many families are opting for "Backyard Getaways"--fabulous parties thrown at home, as opposed to leaving town for lavish vacations.

Party City has partnered with celebrity event designer Samantha Goldberg to help inspire party planners with savvy and budget-friendly tips for the ultimate Backyard Getaway.

• Sunset Movie Night--Relive the magic of a drive-in theater by simply renting a projector, hanging a large white sheet, and serving movie popcorn in vintage popcorn boxes to complete this outdoor cinematic experience.

• House of Sweets Cupcake Party--Delight guests young and old with showstopper, gourmet cupcakes specially crafted from the Duff Goldman collection of baking products and then artfully displayed in elegant cupcake stands.

• Luau Paradise Party--Create a delightfully tropical oasis at your next poolside gathering with bamboo garden torches, floral leis, tiki coconut candles and luau limbo games.

• Lobster Boil--Bring the charm of the New England seashore right to your doorstep by using custom lobster invitations and nautical-inspired stripes and solids in your tableware.

• Neighborhood Carnival and Games--Invite your neighbors and friends over for a spirited and playful carnival bash full of novelty candy favors, face-painting booths and classic carnival games such as Party City's Can Toss, Inflatable Tic-Tac-Toe, and Egg Relay Race.

Just about everything from customizable tableware and vibrant invitations to eye-catching decorations and novelty party favors can be found at the more than 600 company-owned and franchise Party City stores throughout the United States. For more information and store locations, visit www.PartyCity.com.

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Keep Kids Entertained On Vacation With Technology Designed Just For Them

(NAPSI)-Keeping kids happy and entertained during the summer months can be a difficult task, especially as families hit the road for vacations. But new electronic toys made just for kids offer the perfect solution.

Some of today's hottest new toys mimic Mom and Dad's portable electronics. An innovative new handheld game from VTech lets young learners keep busy on long trips. With MobiGo, young users can tap, flick and drag like their parents thanks to the same touch-screen technology.

Electronic games are also the perfect opportunity to make learning fun. Many of the games incorporate a wide range of skills including math, vocabulary, spelling, logic and categorization. For older children, the slide-open QWERTY keyboard introduces valuable text-typing skills. From drawing and playing instruments to fishing games, handheld electronic games are the perfect portable way by which parents can ensure their kids are occupied while traveling on vacation.

Travel Tips For Parents

Before hitting the road, here are a few things that parents should keep in mind:

• Select electronic devices that have AC adapter kits to ensure they last during long road trips. Devices such as MobiGo also come with headphones to keep youngsters busy while not disturbing parents who might be driving.

• Pack plenty of water, napkins and hand sanitizer for quick cleanup on the go.

• Encourage sharing. Whether it's electronic games or music, play fair with limited supplies and make sure each child has the ability to play for part of the trip. Reward them for waiting their turn.

• Keep kids engaged by purchasing items that are designed to make learning fun.

In addition to being an easy item to bring along wherever you may be going this summer, technology designed for kids is also a smart solution for rainy days inside. In fact, a recent survey shows that kids are younger than ever when they acquire their first electronic device. They are also getting a lot savvier when it comes to technology.

According to the study, while parents report the average age they received their first personal electronic gadget was 18, their children received theirs at the average age of 4. In fact, four out of 10 parents surveyed report that their child has used their own personal electronic device as a toy.

For more information on electronic toys for your tots through teens, visit www.vtechkids.com, www.facebook.com/VTechToys or follow @VTechToys on Twitter.

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Who Knows The Places You'll Go, The Jobs You'll Take?

(NAPSI)-One entertaining way to keep yourself busy this summer may be the latest addition to a gaming favorite.

When you're looking for an escape from hot summer days or you're at home on a staycation, you can now test out your next professional endeavor before you take the leap with a computer game the entire family will enjoy.

Finding Fun?

"The Sims 3 Ambitions," the second expansion pack to the best-selling "The Sims 3," lets you pursue several career paths in your computer game characters' lives that in turn affect your overall gameplay experience and neighborhood. While they're on the job, you have direct control over the characters' work and can choose how they spend their days.

Fearless Heroes Ace Entrepreneurs

The characters can pursue opportunities as a ghost hunter, create brilliant gadgets as an inventor, craft glorious masterpieces as a sculptor, dole out experimental medicine as a doctor, save lives as a firefighter, and solve dozens of riveting cases as an investigator.

Players can decide whether their character (known as a Sim) will be the brave town hero or cause loads of mischief.

Meanwhile, you can have fun exploring new careers.

For the first time in this game you are in charge of how your characters' career progresses, and you decide if they will work for good or evil, pursue creative endeavors or technical affairs, climb to the top quickly or be slackers. The future of the Sims' success or failure is in your hands.

Devotees of the popular game, which now has a million fans on Facebook, have used it for years to test out styles in their home and fashion and can now do the same with careers.

For More Information

For more information, visit www.TheSims3.com.

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Sleepover Suggestions--Helping Your Child Feel More Comfortable

(NAPSI)-While some kids beg their parents to attend sleepover after sleepover, many are apprehensive about spending the night away from home, especially those who may have bedtime issues. If your child is afraid of the dark, occasionally wets the bed or is just nervous about sleeping somewhere new, sleepovers can often be a source of anxiety and pressure for him or her.

As a parent, you can help them feel more comfortable and at ease with these sleepover suggestions from the GoodNites® NiteLite™ Panel. For more sleepover tips and compassionate support for your child's bedtime issues, visit www.GoodNites.com.

To Grandmother's House They Go

Dawn Meehan, mother of six and author of Because I Said So…, recommends doing a sleepover "test run" somewhere they're already comfortable with--like Grandma's house. "If your child is apprehensive about sleeping over at a friend's house, you might want to set up a sleepover at Grandma's or another close relative's house," Meehan said. "This can be a great way to help your child gain confidence." To ensure the practice sleepover goes smoothly, make sure Grandma knows about their bedtime concerns in advance.

Host the Sleepover at Your House

Often, kids struggle with sleepovers because they fear embarrassment if their friends learn about their nighttime issues. "Social acceptance plays a major role in developing and maintaining self-esteem," said Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, pediatrician and mother of three. If your child is concerned about staying at a friend's house, have the first sleepover at your house and limit it to just one friend so he or she is not overwhelmed. Having the sleepover at your house creates a safe zone where your child can enjoy the fun experience, increasing willingness to venture to a friend's house in the future. Plus, they can be more discreet about using a night light or putting on GoodNites® Underwear for comfort and protection if they wet the bed.

Keep Sleepover Conversations Casual

Constantly talking about sleepovers or bedtime issues may increase their fears. Don't push your children to attend or host sleepovers if they're not ready--the last thing you want them to feel is pressured. Instead, casually bring it up in conversation, like "This would be a fun game to play with your friends at a sleepover," so they can warm up to the idea.

Share Your Sleepover Stories

Sometimes, kids find comfort in knowing they're not alone. Share your experiences with your children about the fun sleepovers you attended as a kid and give them a chance to ask questions or express their anxiety. "Remember, effective communication is a two-way street, so listen closely to what your children tell you and validate their concerns and feelings," said Dr. Trachtenberg. They'll enjoy hearing your stories and may be more interested in attending the next sleepover if they know you had good experiences.

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Budget-Stretching Ideas Transform A Staycation To A "Playcation"

(NAPSI)-With recent reports from Money magazine putting the average cost of a vacation for four at $1,600, many families are opting for a staycation or "nearcation" this season.

But the question remains: How do they make the most of their time and get the most value? Fortunately, parents have cool options to beat the heat and doldrums by turning a staycation into a "playcation."

With a little help from On Demand digital cable services, families don't have to travel far to experience other cultures, create unique crafts or hone their cooking skills. Kids can get insider secrets on magic tricks, explore dance or try yoga. There's even a professional chef on hand with advice on making summer treats. Parents can easily access it all at no extra charge by clicking on the designated "free" category on their On Demand menu.

Before the thermometer hits the red zone, kids can help parents with do-it-yourself outdoor home-improvement projects.

They might even be more likely to eat "good-for-you" foods if they help build and plant the family's own vegetable bed. And s'mores will definitely taste better when roasted over a family-built backyard fire pit.

When the mercury does soar, the library is a great place to cool down. Remember the summer reading program? Put a new spin on it.

Kids can check out and read their favorite books, and parents can bring the titles to life with an inexpensive On Demand movie screening, featuring Max and his pals from "Where the Wild Things Are," and Perseus and the creatures from "Clash of the Titans."

Sports camps are more convenient and economical when held in the living room. Fitness-oriented families can host their own camps On Demand with icons such as Olympic soccer champion Mia Hamm and pro skateboarder Mike Vallely. Little Leaguers can check in with baseball hero Tony Gwynn before heading to the diamond. And dads can consult performance-training expert Mark Verstegen, while moms can get poolready working out with cover model Brooklyn Decker.

Once the kids are asleep, moms and dads can kick back and catch up on their favorite basic and premium television series, from networks such as AMC, MTV, USA, HBO and Showtime.

For more ideas, check out www.thisiscable.com. A playcation can be fun, educational and energizing.

 

 

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Forget The Gym Fees: Find Free Fun For The Whole Family

(NAPSI)-Now is the best time to find free fun for the entire family. Getting your children and teens to be physically active for 60 minutes each day does not require a potentially costly gym membership.

When finances are tight, there are many ways to get your children and family more physically active without spending a lot of money. In fact, all kinds of great family activity resources are available in your own house and neighborhood.

• Let kids play their favorite music in the common areas of the house and encourage them to dance for as long as they want. Don't be afraid to join in on the fun yourself. A few minutes of the twist will send your heart rate soaring!

• Make a plan to take the kids to the playground, tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, or park at least a couple of times a week. Walk there if you can, and encourage your kids to invite their friends.

• If you have a TV, explore the many exercise programs or videos that may be available to you for free. Your public library may also offer exercise videos. If the thought of cardio workouts in the living room turns you off, set up yoga mats-or towels-in a cleared space and have a family yoga night.

These-and many more science-based resources to help keep the whole family moving-can be found on the We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition)® website (http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov). We Can!, a program developed by the National Institutes of Health, does more than just provide tips on how to increase physical activity. It also offers resources that help parents and caregivers keep their 8- to 13-year-olds at a healthy weight by eating right and spending less time glued to the screen (computer, TV, etc.).

Not only that, some 1,300 communities across the U.S. have signed up to run the program. Organizations offering the kinds of activities you're looking for include many local park and recreation departments (and other physical activity-oriented groups). When you visit the We Can! website to find additional physical activity tips for the whole family, be sure to see whether there's a community site near you and what they have to offer.

So forget the gym fees. Put that extra cash to good use elsewhere, maybe even buying extra fruits and veggies at the grocery store, and get your whole family moving with some fun and free physical activities.

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Pack Smart For Fun In The Sun

(NAPSI)-You can head toward fun on your next trip if you pay attention to two packing pointers:

1. Plan Ahead. Make a list of the things you need, keeping them to a minimum.

• If you take medicine or wear glasses, bring extras.

• Make sure you have all the tickets, driver's licenses, passports and confirmations you'll need while on the road, and make sure they are easily accessible.

2. Pack Smart. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) limits carry-on baggage to one bag plus a purse, briefcase, laptop or backpack.

• Some airlines charge extra for checking bags or for checking more than one bag.

• According to the TSA, liquids, gels and aerosols must be in 3-ounce or smaller containers and in a 1-quart, ziplock bag to be taken on a plane.

• Small purses or cases will use the least amount of space within your luggage, while helping to ensure that key vacation essentials are able to fit. Fashionable fanny packs, colorful carrying cases or small messenger bags can be great items to hold your everyday valuables.

• A camera case is one type of holder that can store both a camera and vacation necessities. Allowing travelers to conveniently carry a camera, Canon and LeSportSac joined forces to offer a stylish camera case, exclusively available on Canon's Shop Direct online store www.shop.usa.canon.com. A great fit for select Canon PowerShot digital cameras, the functional case features two zippered main compartments, good for storing a camera, credit cards and a room key. Perhaps the best part is you can wear it over your shoulder, across your body or as a wristlet. You can leave those big totes and oversized canvas bags at home.

• A good camera to carry in the case is the new PowerShot SD4000 IS Digital ELPH camera. It offers exceptional still-image quality and HD video capability to capture various aspects of your trip. Great for taking pictures of your family in a dimly lit restaurant or capturing a national landmark at sunset, the camera has the Canon HS (high-sensitivity) SYSTEM to help you shoot clear images in low-light situations.

• If you'll have access to an electric outlet on your travels, you may care to take a Canon SELPHY ES40 compact photo printer. It's easy to use because it prints straight from a compatible memory card. You can easily print and navigate through menus with a voice guidance system, large 3.5-inch LCD screen and Easy Scroll Wheel. Users have lots of opportunities to personalize their photos with new frames and clip art available under the Creative Print function. The printer can also improve image quality and prints a 4" x 6" borderless photo in approximately 55 seconds*, taking the hassle out of waiting for your images to appear.

* Print speed obtained using compatible Canon compact digital camera incorporating DIGIC II (other camera models may vary).

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