Meet the 2016 Summer Olympics Mascots

So far we're loving all the Olympic games coverage. (Is Michael Phelps really a merman? Probably.) But there's still a week to go and we know a quick trick to keep kids engaged: introduce them to the official Rio 2016 mascots: Vinicius and Tom!

Not only are these little dudes super cute, kids can learn a lot about Brazilian culture by getting to know both mascots. You can read all about them on the official Rio 2016 site.

Vinicius, the Olympic Games mascot, is a mashup of Brazilian animals and was born in an "explosion of joy" when it was announced Rio would be hosting the games.

Tom, the Paralympics Games mascot, is a mixture of all the plants in the Brazilian rainforests. And in a celebratory spirit, was born out of an "explosion of happiness" when it was announced Rio would be hosting the games.

You can't not be cheerful when looking at these mascots.

A few ways to interact with Vinicius and Tom:


  • Athletes of the Future: Take a quiz to find out what Olympic sport suits you best
  • Facebook: Like Vinicius and Tom on Facebook to see what they're up to in Rio. (You can also look them up on Instagram!)
  • Selfies: You may not be able to travel to Rio to watch the Games, but you can still take a selfie with the mascots!
  • Watch: Watch the mini-episodes all about Vinicius and Tom's adventures


How is your family celebrating the Olympic Games? Do you watch together? Compete in your own? I'd love to know!



Back to School Toys and Games for Learning Through Play

Today I'll be venturing on another satellite media tour, which means I get to share some awesome toys and games with dozens of TV stations around the country that I wouldn't otherwise get to visit. It also means I get to video-meet a lot of super awesome people.

Today I'll be showing off some of my favorite new toys and games that will help kids learn as they play. These are great for transitioning back into the school year, and for educational play all year round.


$59.99, Ages 4+

Created by WowWee, COJI (coding + emojis), is a new way for kids to learn how to code using one touch commands.

Jimu Robot Explorer Kit

$199.99, Ages 8+

Jimu (from UBtech) is an interactive robotic building block system that will really get the cogs turning in your kid's head. Using the app, kids can share their creations and get inspired through a unique community.


Free for 30 days, then $4.99 per month, Ages 12 and under

Epic! is an amazing library app for your tablet that is filled with awesome books kids and parents will love, and even includes educational videos. Epic is being used in 70% of U.S. elementary schools, so your kids may already be familiar with the library.


$39.99, Ages 2-7

LeapFrog's latest release, LeapStart, is a great new learning toy for Preschool through First Grade. This interactive activity system complements what kids are learning in the classroom and helps them prepare for their next steps in education.


$29.99, Ages 4+

Brightlings is more than just a super cute doll your kids will love. This new toy from Spinmaster is an interactive way for kids to record and create their own music. It's a perfectly adorable way for kids to explore their creativity.

As always, don't forget to follow me on Instagram for behind-the-scenes looks at these crazy segments and all the latest about PLAY!


Happy National Coloring Book Day!

We here at Meredith Plays LOVE LOVE LOVE coloring. So of course we're celebrating National Coloring Book Day today!

For my book launch, we even teamed up with Crayola to create a custom box of crayons and cute coloring pages. (Thanks to Nicole for the awesome photo above!)

Not only is it a great way to spend time with your family, you can have some chill solo time with a coloring book (and maybe a glass of bubbles!).

And with coloring trending huge right now, companies like Crayola are really stepping up their game. They've gone beyond crayons and coloring books with Color Alive, a new app that really makes your drawings come to life.

There are about a dozen different Color Alive coloring book themes right now, so no matter what your youngin's are into, they'll probably love this new way to get artsy.

You can even download, print, and try out an Iron Man or Elsa page to see how it works!

For those of us looking for coloring page options that don't include the latest cartoons, Crayola has created Color Escapes, a line of adult coloring kits. I'm loving the National Parks kit for summer. The images are so beautiful and will totally give you the urge to get outside.

Looking for more coloring book options? Check out these five awesome color books for adults, and my video on why I just LOVE that coloring is cool for adults now.

Happy National Coloring Book Day!

All images from Crayola, a company my family loves!
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