Living

Family

Apps and sites that help kids give back

Donating to charity through text messages and websites is great, but kids may need something more interactive to help them understand how they're helping. Apps and sites can help families take direct action, learn about important causes, and nurture compassion. Aside from developing empathy and gratitude, helping others can boost kids' self-esteem and expand their worldview. From a trivia game that eases world hunger to stories about people in need, these apps and sites help kids do good.

Living

This is what our readers think is missing from every home. Do you agree?

Raise your hand if your home is missing a certain je ne sais quoi. In your space, do you ever wonder how you could make it better - what you could subtract to make it feel fresh, balanced and new? When looking at our own decor with little perspective, it can be hard to decipher the missing piece to the puzzle - the one thing that's stopping our space from looking and feeling just right. Is the sofa too small? What should I add to that wall? Why does my place feel a little sterile? If you've ever asked yourself these types of questions, you're not alone.

Family

App review: Tongo Music, a wonderful introduction to classical music for preschoolers and families

Parents need to know that Tongo Music - for kids and families introduces kids to instruments, music structure, and classical music. In all, kids can hear 15 short samples of musical masterpieces from Mozart to Tchaikovsky, played with 12 different musical instruments. And, kids can try their own hand at creating music with a digital keyboard, a collection of percussion instruments, and more. Because there's a lot of music in the app, it may take a long time to open the first time after downloading. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

Family

10 books to help kids understand the immigrant experience

Captivating stories of the immigrant and refugee experience can help kids understand what people go through when they move to a new country and start new lives. These novels and memoirs for kids 10 and under can help build empathy among readers, and kids from immigrant families can see reflections of their own struggles and triumphs.

Family

Tips for talking to kids about the news

Shootings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, end-of-the-world predictions - even political coverage of current events - can be upsetting news for adults, not to mention kids. In our 24/7 news world, it's become nearly impossible to shield kids from distressing current events.

Family

Game review: 'Horizon Zero Dawn,' exhilarating, 5-Star adventure with strong female protagonist

Parents need to know that "Horizon Zero Dawn" is a vast role-playing game (RPG) with moderate violence. Players assume the role of a female warrior who was cast out of her tribe at birth. She's clever, capable, and just, eventually respected by most people she meets. Fights - involving weapons such as bows and arrows, tripwire traps, and some unusual looking guns - are fast and frenetic, but most are against machines rather than living creatures. When players battle humans and animals, they see small splashes of blood with each successful hit. Parents should also note that spoken dialogue includes infrequent instances of mild profanity as well as occasional references to drinking and smoking.

Living

Ditch dirt, disarray with a custom doormat

The roughly 4-foot square area just inside our entry teeters on the brink, a minefield of dirty footprints, stray leaves and stuff the dog dragged in. Judging strictly on visual evidence, you might have a hard time determining if a family or a herd of goats has been passing through the door.

Videos

Best Buy manager responds to negative, trolling comments on viral WiiU gift video

After posting a video of the Best Buy employees who gifted a WiiU to a stranger in their store, manager Rahiem Storr shared a follow up video expressing his frustration with the negative comments he received via YouTube. "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all," said Storr.
Rahiem Storr / YouTube
Best Buy manager responds to negative, trolling comments on viral WiiU gift video 1:17

Best Buy manager responds to negative, trolling comments on viral WiiU gift video

Kid surprised with WiiU as an early Christmas gift from Best Buy employees 1:04

Kid surprised with WiiU as an early Christmas gift from Best Buy employees

School stories, a new Sun-Star column from Sara Sandrik 1:50

School stories, a new Sun-Star column from Sara Sandrik

Whale frees itself from Outer Banks sandbar 1:01

Whale frees itself from Outer Banks sandbar