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Family

Game review: ‘Unravel 2,’ beautiful puzzle adventure promotes positivity and teamwork

Parents need to know that "Unravel Two" is a side-scrolling adventure and puzzle game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs that's a follow up to the original 2016 platformer. The player's characters – creatures made of positive emotions that have taken physical form as animated "Yarnys" – aren't aggressive and never attack the darkly glowing negative emotions that chase after them. That said, Yarnys can be destroyed by hazards such as electricity and moving cars, eaten by animals, or disintegrated by their enemies. Both the story – which centers on a pair of Yarnys trying to assist a couple of kids on the run – and the play promote concepts of friendship, teamwork, and cooperation. The Yarnys can't speak, but it's made clear through their actions and animations that they care for and want to help each other.

Family

App review: BrainPOP Featured Movie: Awesome Educational Tool for Kids Going Back to School

Parents need to know that the content in BrainPOP Featured Movie is produced by a well-respected educational organization. The content changes daily (though everything is archived, so kids don't feel pressured to use the app every day). Each day, there is a new animated documentary, and it could be on just about any topic you can think of. Film topics have included the planet Mars, dogs, asthma, blogs, and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. These films and the information within are geared toward older elementary school kids. While there shouldn't be anything offensive or scary for younger kids, the movies – and the quizzes that follow them – may be over the heads of kids younger than 8.

Family

How can I get my kids in the mood for school after a summer of TV and video games?

Most families take a more relaxed approach to screen time during the summer. But once the school year starts, homework, extracurriculars, and other activities require a tighter schedule. Develop a game plan – with your kids' input – before school starts, and begin implementing it when you still have some flexibility in your schedule. Different strategies work for different families, but here are some ideas to try:

Family

Apps stirring up trouble in schools

Ask any middle or high school teacher what their biggest classroom challenge is, and it's pretty much guaranteed they'll say "cellphones." Makes sense. Today, 95 percent of teens have access to a cellphone, and nearly half say they're on them "constantly." Putting aside for a moment the need to find solutions to this problem, inquiring minds want to know: What the heck is on kids' phones that they can't go an entire class without them?

Family

Moms Gear: Side-string yoga shorts great for workout

The Onzie Side String Yoga short can be a great wardrobe addition to your workout routine for participating in a low-impact exercise such as yoga, Pilates or PiYo. The shorts are available for $44.00 through yogaoutlet.com and come in a variety of attractive prints and colors, such as Peony, Butterflies, Flora, and others and feel comfortable during a yoga flow or similar series.

Travel

Water and wine make a perfect pairing in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Standing at the bow of a little rowboat and chatting with my two companions, I realize I'm not just fly-fishing Oregon's famed McKenzie River, I'm also a student in a floating master class on how chance geologic events made this valley about perfect for two things: growing grapes to make world-class wines, and sustaining some of the country's loveliest wild trout.

Travel

10 urban sanctuaries well worth a visit

A foray into the heart of a city can be made all the more memorable and enjoyable with a visit to a public park. In addition to providing restful green spaces for a picnic or a stroll, most of the nation's metropolitan parks offer an extraordinary array of recreational opportunities and cultural sites. In many instances they stand out among the city's top attractions.

Chaotic scramble to save SPCA dogs from fire bearing down on shelter caught on camera

With the Nelson Fire bearing down on the SPCA of Solano County, Vacaville Police Department officers ran into the shelter building and started grabbing 60 cats and dogs and shoving them into patrol vehicles. Bodycam footage shows the rescue.