Archives for January 18, 2021

Viteyes Launches Blue Light Defender Kids for Screen Time Protection of Their Developing Eyes

Did you know that exposure to blue light before bedtime can also disrupt sleep patterns because it affects when our bodies create melatonin? With screentime for kids having increased by 500% during the pandemic, an inside out approach with Viteyes® Blue Light Kids can be an effective method to help protect their eyes.

Viteyes®came out with a product late last year called Blue Light Defender™ Kids, a nutritional supplement formulated with lutein and zeaxanthin, the only natural defense eyes have to protect the macula from the harmful effects of blue light that stem from digital screens such as smartphones, tablets, TVs, computers and even sunlight.

Also, because Blue Light Defender™ Kids is not only formulated with lutein and zeaxanthin but also Astaxanthin, it’s packed with antioxidants that kids may be lacking in their diets. And with its delicious chocolate berry soft chew kids won’t even realize that it’s good for them! I recommend for children ages 4+.

You can find out more here.

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. Images and information were also provided.

Have little ones at home this school year? Check out these items from School Zone!

School Zone has Activity Kits that are a must-buy this school year!

Preschool, Kindergarten and Activity Kit – Launched on School Zone Octoberober 1st.  

*Really great value for the amount of contents. $29.99 (valued at $52) 

I had the opportunity to check out the Preschool Activity Kit and I highly recommend it! It includes a workbook with stickers, flash cards, 2 reading books and so much more. The Preschool Activity Kit is perfect for ages 3-5.

Find all three kits here.

For parents looking to alleviate the stress of at-home learning, School Zone’s incredible online platform, Anywhere Teacher is helping guide parents and their children through the school year with ease. It compliments School Zone’s workbooks and flashcards so well too!  

Anywhere Teacher connects children ages 2-8 with powerful online learning wherever they are – anywhere, anytime. Children and parents can now have access to limitless learning and fun! A preschooler can practice ABCs in the kitchen with mom, while a second grader works on spelling in the living room on a tablet. The award-winning online learning tool is the perfect addition to every child’s education! Designed to align with national education standards, Anywhere Teacher offers over 2,000 activities that make learning fun, safe, and ad-free, starting at just $6.99/month! 

Anywhere Teacher includes: Digital Books, Digital Flashcards, Interactive Worksheets, Songs, Videos, Games, Writable Printables, Play Zone, and Custom Profiles! 

Direct sign-up link:  https://anywhereteacher.com/

Our readers have the opportunity to try a free 30-day trial (using code, SMARTKIDS, sign-up link here), as well as an Anywhere Teacher activity trial for free, here.

Now, how cool is that?!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Images were also provided.

Secrets of Sulphur Springs * Dives Deep Into The Mysteries Of The Unknown With A Chilling Tale Of Mystery And Suspense

Set in the fictional titular town, Secrets of Sulphur Springs follows 12-year-old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver), whose world has been upended by his father’s decision to move the family from Chicago to take over an abandoned hotel property, The Tremont. The Campbells, which includes Griffin’s mother and his younger twin siblings, move into The Tremont in hopes of restoring it to the vacation destination it once was. But on his first day at his new school, Griffin hears rumors that the hotel is haunted by the ghost of Savannah (Elle Graham), a girl who disappeared decades ago. Soon, he and his new friend, Harper (Kyliegh Curran), discover a portal that allows them to travel back in time and uncover clues about the town’s biggest mystery.

Secrets of Sulphur Springs
By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Disney’s new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, dives deep into the mysteries of the unknown.  The writers of the show weave a chilling tale of mystery and suspense that is brought to life by the cast. It is a show about new friendships and old secrets that will leave you on the edge of your seat, as it did me.

In Secrets of Sulphur Springs, a music-loving middle school boy named Griffin (Preston Oliver) moves into an abandoned hotel called The Tremont that his family plans to restore. The hotel is said to be haunted by a girl named Savannah (Elle Graham) who mysteriously disappeared 30 years ago.  Griffin is missing his old town and old friends, but he finds a new friend named Harper (Kyliegh Curran). Together they are determined to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the hotel and find out what happened to Savannah.

One of my favorite scenes was when Griffin finds out that the old hotel is supposedly haunted—it is very fascinating to see his reaction when others tell him about Savannah haunting it.  Equally interesting is to see how the others react to Griffin when they find out he is living at the old hotel. Griffin has younger twin siblings (Landon Gordon and Madeleine McGraw) and Harper has a brother (Bryant Tardy). The relationships that Griffin and Harper have with their siblings make the characters easy to relate to. The hotel set is decorated to portray that old, abandoned, rustic style which gives it a spooky appearance. The scenes where the set is dark also add to the eerie mood.  The overall creepy setting makes the scenes more believable. The clothing choices are also well thought out, and perfect for the scenes.

The messages in this TV series are about building friendships and trust. Moving to a new town and having to make new friends at school is not always easy. Being a good friend means being kind, helpful and truthful. It also means working together. Trust is especially important because it’s hard to earn back after it’s lost. Parents may need to know that there are some suspenseful scenes that may be scary for younger viewers.

I give the new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, 5 out of 5 stars. Every scene kept me captivated and wanting more. I recommend this show for ages 7 to 16. Secrets of Sulphur Springs premieres on the Disney Channel on January 15, 2021.

Blizzard of Souls * A Cinematic Masterpiece and Oscar Submission from Latvia

Based on true events and the novel by Aleksandrs Grins, which was forbidden in the USSR, the film follows a coming-of-age story of a sixteen-year-old Arthur. After the loss of his mother, he enlists to fight in WWI with dreams of becoming a hero, but after surviving the brutalities of trench warfare and the loss of his family, he wonders if his efforts in battle were futile and if hope is only to be found in rebuilding a family and a home as Latvia itself is born from the atrocities of war.

Blizzard Of Souls was directed by Dzintars Dreibergs and written by Dreibergs and Boriss Frumins. The film was produced by Inga Pranevska and Dzintars Dreibergs for KULTFILMA, and associate produced by Gatis Sniedziņš. Ilona Bičevska serves as International Producer. It was edited by Gatis Belogrudovs and composed by Lolita Ritmanis. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “A cinematic masterpiece and the Oscar submission from the Baltic nation of Latvia, Blizzard of Souls will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions while providing you with a thorough history lesson!” See his full review below.

Blizzard of Souls

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A cinematic masterpiece and the Oscar submission from the Baltic nation of Latvia, Blizzard of Souls will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions while providing you with a thorough history lesson! With echoes of 1917, Blizzard of Souls has masterful editing and cinematography, incredible sets and locations, and a talented cast, but falls a bit short on explaining major events in the First World War.

KULTFILMA took inspiration from true events and the novel by Grins to create Blizzard of Souls, which follows a teenage boy named Arturs Vanags in Russian-controlled Latvia (around the 1910s). Arturs’ father was a highly decorated commander of a regiment of the Latvian army, and his brother Edgars is focused on carrying on that legacy. He’s not exactly a fighter, but when his mother is killed by the Germans, Arturs, his brother, and his father conscript in the national Latvian Riflemen battalions of the Imperial Russian army in hopes of getting revenge and finding glory. He experiences many loves and losses in battle, after which he, among other soldiers, grows weary of the Tsarist cause and feels forgotten. Arturs must decide whether to stay with his regiment or defect and join his comrades in fighting the Latvian War of Independence and start his life all over again. As you can see, there’s a lot happening in the film, and it’s an intriguing plotline. Though I am a history buff, I’m not at the top of my game when it comes to Latvian war history, so I was really hoping for some time or battle markers; all of the battles seemed to blend together, save for the final conflict Arturs is involved in – the Battle of Cesis.

The cast and crew shine in this Baltic beauty. Oto Brantevics and Raimonds Celms play the brothers Vanags, with Oto as Arturs and Raimonds as Edgars. Raimond is a more experienced actor, but Oto really shines in his performance, with perfectly toned emotions and dialogue. Their on-screen father is played by Martins Vilsons, whose cerebral, tough personality gives way (at the perfect time) to paternal love. And the Vanags’ friends in the film, Mikelsons and Konrads, are played by Jēkabs Reinis and Gatis Gaga, who excel in their supporting roles with pointed humor and emulating the characters’ focused, yet free personalities. Behind the scenes, Dzintars Dreibergs directed the film meticulously, with a keen eye on historical accuracy and believability. The music in the film, which majestically introduces and drives the action in each scene, was composed by Lolita Ritmanis. The soundtrack is definitely one of my favorite parts of the film. Another beautiful element of Blizzard of Souls is the cinematography by Valdis Celmiņš; viewers can tell that each shot was thoughtfully planned out. There is a large part of one battle sequence that was shot and edited in one take, which really helps the speed of the film.

The message of Blizzard of Souls is one of growth; Arturs grows from a young boy to a mature hero throughout this film and has to make many tough decisions along the way. It’s a positive and relatable message, as we all grow as people throughout our lives. There are some scenes for parents to watch out for though; there’s a lot of blood and gore, some nudity and profanity (given the culture of trench warfare).

I give Blizzard of Souls 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Adults will enjoy this film as well. Blizzard of Souls is out in theatres and on DVD now!