Tag Archives: silliness

Peacee Hats: Made From Pipe Cleaners!

I come from a creative family. We all make stuff. Some of it useful, and some of it just plain fun. Today I want to showcase the work of my cousin Nathan. We grew up together playing with Legos, Play-Doh, Shrinky-Dinks and origami. Apparently these days Nate has a little too much free time, because he started making funky hats by twisting pipe cleaners around each other while watching episodes of Glee and Project Runway.

After fine-tuning his construction methods because first hats were a bit too heavy, he’s come up with a collection of distinct hat styles for people to choose from. That’s right: my cousin Nate will custom-make a hat for you, too!

Of course, because I’m family, everyone in my house got their own custom-made hat. Here’s how we look in our Peacee Hats:

Peacee Hats

Happy in our funky, custom-made Peacee Hats!

Run on over to Nate’s website and pick out yer own!

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Apps I Like: JibJab Jr.

Remember Elf Yourself? This was a holiday promotion by OfficeMax from a few years back. Just upload head shots of you and your family (or co-workers, or frenemies), position the eyes correctly, then watch as your group dances and sings in a hilarious customized holiday card that begs to be shared. I helped crash the OfficeMax website the year it debuted.

Or perhaps you recall the side-splitting “This Land” cartoon that went viral during the 2004 presidential campaign. I still can’t watch this animated duel between George W. Bush and John Kerry without giggling uncontrollably.

As it turns out, an outfit called JibJab was behind both projects (and many others). The people on the JibJab team are masters of funny animation, especially photos of human heads superimposed on delightfully ridiculous bodies, doing silly things and dancing along to hilarious original music.

Their new initiative is an iPad app called JibJab Jr., which contains a series of childrens’ books and allows you to make your child the center of each story. This sounded like a fantastic idea to me–so I was eager to try it out.

The set up is easy enough. After downloading the app, just insert your kid’s face (choose a photo already on your iPad, or take a new one)–elegant and intuitive controls let you position the photo (rotate, resize, move) for best effect. Next enter said child’s name and gender, choose a matching skin tone, and you’re ready to explore the customized story–starring YOUR KID!

The free app includes one story–The Biggest Pizza Ever. I think all kids love pizza (and so do I) so this story hooked me from the very first page. Full of over-the-top superlatives, silly but artful animation and well-designed pages and typography, I adored this story. My kids and I all had to try it out with our own customization, and each reading of the story generated giggles all around. The Biggest Pizza Ever seems to have the same spirit as the Elf Yourself and other classic JibJab offerings–which is a Very Good Thing.

JibJab Jr. Pizza Story

I also downloaded and tried out the Ocean Commotion story, which is beautiful and just as well-done as The Biggest Pizza Ever, but seems to lack the trademark JibJab silliness. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though–it may be more appropriate for quiet times (like bedtime).

JibJab Jr. Ocean Story

The JibJab team states that they don’t want to be part of the deluge of ‘hyper-clickable toys’–they are more interested in ‘enhancing the special wind-down time you spend with your child sharing stories at bedtime.’ Hear, hear! I’m glad there are no buttons to press, just cute, engaging, personalized stories.

However, the books contain no audio–no voiceover narration, no music and no sound effects. I think this is taking the move away from interactivity a bit too far. After all, the original songs and e-cards JibJab is known for would be nothing without audio. I believe the careful and thoughtful addition of sound effects and parent-recorded narration would make the JibJab Jr. books near-perfect.

Bottom line: you and your kids will love JibJab Jr. And (based on information from their recent customer newsletter) it looks as though they will be adding audio to their books soon. The app and the pizza book are free. The other books are a bit pricey at $7.99 each, but you can save some cash by signing up for the monthly book subscription (each month you get a new book for $3.99). Not bad! Get yours here.

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of the Ocean Commotion book for review purposes.)

Apps I Like: My Underwear by Todd Parr

Sometimes I come across something so delightfully ridiculous, so perfectly preposterous, that I find it irresistible. Such is the case with the My Underwear app by Thumb Arcade, featuring artwork by Todd Parr.

This app is all about having fun with underwear! There are four games within the app: a) a painting activity where you first choose your preferred style of underwear, then color, paint and apply stamps (I find this surprisingly addictive) b) match the underwear to the corresponding animal (sometimes by color, sometimes by pattern)–and you can place the underwear on the animal’s head! c) a game where you feed underwear into the waiting mouth of a hungry monster, and d) a version of the old Concentration card game, where you match pairs.

The first video above is the official app trailer, and the second actually shows someone walking you through all four activities.

Both my girls and I find all four activities fun, and I’ve seen both daughters return to the app on their own over and over. The high-quality music is lively and well-suited to the colorful art. The iPad version is appropriately-priced at $2.99, and (because it uses very intuitive navigation and no reading is needed to play the games) is appropriate for ALL ages. Enjoy some silly fun with your kids today!

Kid Joke of the Day

Nervous SkeletonQ. Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?

A. Because he didn’t have the guts!

Family Words

In my family, we honor silliness and made-up words.

For instance, when I was a toddler, I called my parents ‘Rushmore.’ No one knows why, least of all me. Of course this stuck like glue to my family’s lexicon, and for years my parents called each other ‘Rushmore’ as a term of endearment.

Much later, my husband and I started using ‘fordor’ as a cuss word around our son, as a way to avoid using actual four-letter words in his presence. It’s been so long ago that I have no idea where the word came from or how; only that it’s still in use around our house today.

Do you use made-up words in your household?