Kids Need More Video Games, Not Less

[This is a post I originally wrote for one of my other sites, Gentlemen of Gaming. But it applies just as much to Modern Day Dad, so I thought I'd include it here too.]


Those of us who play video games regularly already know that, aside from entertainment, video games can have other (often unintended) benefits. And while I'm not really sold that playing Just Dance 3 on the Wii should really count as exercise, there are skills to learn and practice while playing games.

So if you've been wanting to get an XBOX 360 for the living room and still can't convince your wife, send her a copy of this article a friend sent me recently, Kids and video games: Why children should play more []. Video games can promote cooperation, teamwork, problem solving, planning and thinking "outside of the box." 

"...The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) states that kids actually need more, not less, video game play as a result. Citing games’ ability to prepare workers for the increasingly competitive global job market, the organization says that games promote strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, plan formulation, and ability to respond to change."

Despite what many parents may think (and what many bloggers may, ahem, blog about), not all video games are violent. In fact, the vast majority are not. And when you compare playing a game to more passive forms of entertainment like watching television, the differences are easilly contrasted.

I just wish this research existed when I was twelve.

The Best Wheeled Boards for Bugaboo and Other Strollers

If baby number two is on the way, it may have already occurred to you that you're eventually going to have to move your firstborn out of the stroller to make room for the baby. And depending on the age of your child, it's likely hard to imagine them all of a sudden walking around instead of riding. Not to mention the fact that you're no longer going to have them strapped in confined to a stroller anymore. When the time came for my family, the solution was the Bugaboo Wheeled Board.

A wheeled board attaches to the back of the stroller - usually the rear axle - and allows your oldest to ride behind the stroller while standing up. But what if you don't have a Bugaboo? Fortunately these days there are wheeled board options for all kinds of strollers. Here's a breakdown of what I think the best are:

Bugaboo Wheeled Board
The Bugaboo Wheeled Board is the granddaddy of this product category, and it's the first time I ever saw something like it all those years ago. It attaches to the rear axle of the Bugaboo and your kid stands in between you and the stroller. It also has a strap that allows you to fold it up under the stroller when you're child decides to walk.

This is the wheeled board I used with my kids, and from experience I can tell you it works really well. It supported the weight of my kid without a problem and both my kids felt very secure while I was pushing them. It is a bit annoying to have the kid right in front of you when you are trying to walk behind it, and you kind of have to stand a bit to the side of the stroller to push it and avoid kicking the board underneath (at least for my legs). You also have to detach it completely when you're stowing the stroller in the car, but I think this is probably something you have to do with all wheeled boards. The bottom line is, if you've invested in a Bugaboo stroller, this is a must have item.

Bugaboo Wheeled Board works with Bugaboo Cameleon, Frog and Gecko, $99.95 from

Lascal BuggyBoard-Maxi
If you've got just a regular stroller, even an umbrella stroller, and you still want the convenience of a wheeled board you should definitely check out the BuggyBoard-Maxi from Lascal. It's basically the same thing as a Bugaboo Wheeled Board, except it attaches to the rear upright tubing of a stroller (not the axle) so it can attach to a vast variety of strollers. Visit their website to find out if the board will fit your particular stroller, but chances are it will.

BuggyBoard-Maxi by Lascal, $87.20 from

Sidekick Stroller for Orbit G2 Stroller
I'm not saying that the Sidekick Stroller Board alone would be enough to convince me to get a G2 stroller from Orbit, but it definitely wouldn't hurt the cause. The Sidekick solves my main problem with the Bugaboo Wheeled Board, namely by moving the kid from directly behind the stroller (where your feet are supposed to be when you're walking) to behind one of the wheels in back. Your child then stands on the side of the stroller and out of your way.

It's a great solution in as of itself, but typical of Orbit, they've tried to solve all the wheeled board problems. The Sidekick Stroller Board folds up and away when your kid isn't riding, even when your stroller is folded. It also comes with a handle for your kid to hold onto, and it's made of hardwood and grip tape, just like a skateboard. Oh, and you can attach two at a time for three kids if you want.

The Sidekick Stroller Board for the Orbit G2 is $120.00 from

The Mountain Buggy Free Rider
Wheeled boards are one thing, but the coolest, most innovative wheeled board solution comes from Phil&Teds via their Mountain Buggy brand - the Free Rider. The Free Rider is a wheeled board that fits behind your stroller, but also doubles as a scooter. It attaches to the back of the stroller for strolling, and then easily detaches for your kid to play with. I saw it in action at the ABC Expo in Las Vegas at the end of last year, and it was one of the coolest things I saw - especially in the stroller product category. It will launch working on the entire Mountain Buggy line, and they told me at the show that they have plans to make attachments for all kinds of other strollers - not just Mountain Buggy and Phil&Teds brands.

The Free Rider Kiddie Board will release in March 2011 for $99.99 and is available now for pre-order at

Honorable Mentions

  • Lascal also makes a slightly cheaper "Kiddy Board Maxi" that attaches to the rear axel, and costs $79.95 at
  • Stokke also makes the Stokke Xplory Rider Board for their Stokke Xplory strollers. It's basically the same thing as a Bugaboo wheeled board, except that it has two wheels. It will run you $119.99 at
  • UPPAbaby makes a wheeled board called PiggyBack that works with their VISTA line of strollers. It's made of wood and has a non-skid surface, but I don't think it's designed to work with any other strollers than the VISTA. But if you need a three-kid solution this system could be for you. The PiggyBack costs $89.99 at

Share the Photos From Your Kid's Camera Instantly


This is such a simple idea, I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't think of it first. I've written about the awesome Eye-Fi memory cards before - the cards that connect to any WiFi hotspot and automatically send the pictures you've taken to wherever you want - Flickr, your home computer - wherever. It's a cool idea (especially for backup) but I never bought one because I like to edit and process my photos before I share them with the world.

So this year Santa brought my oldest daughter (six years old) a camera for Christmas. Not one of those crappy Fisher Price cameras (of which we've had two and one never even worked) but a real point-and-shoot camera from Canon (in pink, of course). I also got her a regular 8GB memory card to go with it. (The bigger card is mostly for the videos, of which she takes a LOT. I blame iCarly.)

Then a couple of days ago I was reading the latest newsletter from Photojojo, which was about how putting an Eye-Fi card into your kid's camera and connecting it to their own Flickr stream

will let them instantly share their images with the world (or your family at the very least). Apparently blogger Jason Kottke is doing this with his three year old son and wrote it up in a blog post that Photojojo found. 

It's a great idea for a few reasons. Being able to instantly share the images, my daughter will be able to get feedback from her family about what she's doing, which I hope will further encourage her to create new images. Selfishly, I'm excited about it because now I won't have to deal with going through, editing and uploading the pictures she takes. People can drop in on her Flickr feed whenever they want to see the things that she is seeing without any involvement from me. Plus, it will all be backed up. Awesome.

A 4GB Eye-Fi card only costs $39.99 on and the 8GB card costs $79.99. The pro version costs $119.99, but it's still 8GB and is really only for people with cameras that primarily shoot RAW (as opposed to JPEG) files.

$40 and I don't have to go through all my kid's photos on a regular basis? That sounds cheap to me.


Related Posts (written by Chris Ford):

CES 2011: A Mobile WiFi Hotspot in Every Camera with Eye Fi []

Tips For Surviving a Weekend At Disney With Kids


This past December we went to Disneyland for a weekend trip. The holidays are a fun time to go visit "the happiest place on earth", and since we live within driving distance (and our kids are only getting older every day) we figured it was time. It was our third trip, and we're starting to figure out what works and what doesn't work - especially when you bring your kids. If you're interested, check out my latest post on Man of the House - my five tips for surviving a weekend at Disneyland with the kids.

Tips For Surviving a Weekend at Disney (With Kids) []

Modern Day Dad at CES 2009: The Consumer Electronics Showcase.


So tomorrow I'm heading out to my sixth (can it really be six?) CES - the consumer electronics gadget extravaganza here in Las Vegas. And like last year I'll be blogging about a lot of what I see over at In fact this year I even got a special "Blogger" pass which, as far as I can tell, gets me free lunch in the blogger lounge (while supplies last), extra attention from exhibitors, and the slightly condescending looks from those holding orange "Press" badges.

Oh, and I got a free bag which, even though it says "CES" all over it, is pretty sweet.

I'll be looking mostly for anything related to children, parents, parenting or (of course) dads. If you've heard about anything that I should check out, please leave a comment and let me know. This show is so massive, it's going to be hard to even get to the stuff I'm planning, let alone find stuff I never even thought of before.

Wish me luck.

[Check out my posts from CES 2009 over at Droolicious on]