Do a Scavenger Hunt Anywhere with Monkey Spot!

by Amy Kraft on January 23, 2016

Whether you’re out to dinner, visiting an art museum, taking a hike, or, say, stuck inside during a blizzard dropping two feet of snow on your city, you can do a scavenger hunt with the new app Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts.


Things have been quiet here on the Media Macaroni front over the past year, and that’s in large part to focusing on my children’s media company Monkey Bar Collective. Monkey Spot is our first original app, and we’re so pleased to be launching it this week.

The app comes with seven free scavenger hunts:

  • Out to Eat: great while waiting on your food at a restaurant
  • Art Museum Adventure: learn more about the art you’re enjoying
  • Everyday Science: explore science concept through play
  • Backseat Driver: engage with your car ride surroundings
  • I Can See A to Z: a scavenger hunt you can do anywhere
  • This is Me: create a mini autobiography
  • Detective Store: build and solve a mystery with friends

There are more hunts available to purchase in-app, plus we’ll be launching new ones each month.

The clues in each scavenger hunt really reflect our style of play. This isn’t just your ordinary check-things-off-a-list scavenger hunt. Our clues prompt kids to discover, create, perform, personalize, and inquire with each hunt. Learn more on our website.

It’s currently available for iPhone and Android is coming soon.

We’ve been playing hunts today inside and out, making the most of the blizzard. Here are some of our spots from the This is Me and I Can See A to Z scavenger hunts.



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Buy Books! Gift Guide

by Amy Kraft on December 16, 2015


Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

This book tickled our funny bone more than any other this year. Many animals want Mr. Pandas donuts, but they ask rudely. Only a weird lemur knows to say please.


Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

Polar Bear has lost his underwear. As he searches for it, he discovers the brightly colored undies of all his animal friends before he finally finds his own. I had you at the title of this one, didn’t I?


Wild About Shapes by Jérémie Fischer

We received a copy of this book right as Ozzie was learning about color mixing. In this innovative format, abstract color shapes are laid on top of one another to reveal a new animal on every page.


What’s Inside 

Speaking of revealing, when you hold the illustrations of this book up to the light, you’ll get a look at who’s in a skyscraper, what’s in a rocket, and what’s under the ground. In the second half of the book, you can also draw your own What’s Inside illustrations. I love these large-format Okido books. Really, any one of them makes a great gift.


Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

Honestly, who doesn’t need this book as gift. Everyone should have this. There are women you know. S is for Sonia Sotomayor, P is for Patti Smith, and F is for Florence Griffith-Joyner. But you can also discover more amazing women as I did: the Grimke Sisters, Jovita Idar, Yuri Kochiyama, Zora Neale Hurston, and more. Each woman gets a cool wood-block style portrait and a page about her life.


Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Meg Hunt

In this beautifully illustrated version, Cinderella is a maker girl who fixes robots and rockets. When she couldn’t go to the Prince’s Royal Space Parade here Fairy Godrobot gave her tools and a space suit. Cinderella fixed her rocket to go to the parade, and she ended up fixing the Prince’s ship, too. My kind of princess story.


The Marvels by Brian Selznick

If you loved Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, you’ll need The Marvels to finish off your Brian Selznick set. He comes again to his innovative mix of prose and cinematic illustrations to tell the story of five generations of a theatrical family. This books is about love and loss, and about the family we’re born into and the family we choose.


I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

One of my favorite books that I’ve read this year, this book combines graphic novel and novel as a girl, with the help of a new friend and the dark side of the Internet, solves the mysterious disappearance of her best friend, who she thought had died.


Since I’ve been woefully behind on my reading, and Olive always burns through all my review copies, I asked her to pick the books she’d recommend to add to this list and rely on her synopses.


Untwine by Edwidge Danticat

Giselle is a teenage girl whose twin sister dies in a car crash, and she is left unable to speak. Sure it sounds super sad, but Olive liked the perspective of this girl who could see but not talk. (Though I haven’t read this one yet, I read Edwidge Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light recently, a novel for adults I highly recommend also.)


Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White

Two sisters are abandoned by their dad at a rest stop and they have to find their way back, tracking their dad in his RV. Olive liked that this adventure story puts the girls in a bunch of exciting situations.


The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul

I love that this book comes with a warning. Olive loves that this book chronicles the author doing adventurous things like kayaking from Alaska to California or crawling five miles in the rain. Journal prompts and activities get kids to think about their inner gutsy girl (or boy).

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Toys and Games Gift Guide

December 13, 2015

Still looking for gifts for the kiddos? Want something to activate their thinking brains? Check out these great toys and games. Tiggly Words Tiggly Words is an awesome addition to the Tiggly line of iPad toys we’ve been enjoying for a while. Kids use the letter toys to work on their word building, fantastic for […]

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Not Too Late for DIY Presents with Klutz

December 10, 2015

Ordinarily I like to buy Klutz kits as gifts, but a recent event in the Klutz offices made me think about busting open some of those kits to make our own gifts. What’s great about Klutz has been their evolution. I used to think of their kits as one-off activities. Use up what’s in the […]

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Stop Throwing Things Away with Fixer Lab

September 20, 2015

My friends at Squirrel Friends have launched a wonderful new project for maker kids. Fixer Lab shows kids’ wonderful problem-solving capabilities as they fix a broken fan. My plan for today is to have Olive watch this and then clean our disgusting box fans before we put then away for the fall. Thanks, Squirrel Friends!

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Tiny Feminist Superheroes March on Washington (Heights)

June 10, 2015

It started with an email on our local parent listserv. A mom was vexed because a boy at preschool told her daughter she couldn’t be Spider-Man. Other parents quickly chimed in that their girls were experiencing similar problems with their love of Batman and other superheroes, who, let’s face it, are mostly dudes. The conversation […]

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Interview with a 10-year-old

June 7, 2015

Look at this sweet little baby girl. That girl hit double-digits this week. 10! I can’t believe it. Here are Olive’s favorites from the past year. Favorite Video Game Mario Kart Wii because Ozzie makes me play it but it’s fun. [I just love how Mario Kart has been popping in and out of our lives […]

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Tween Books Reviewed by a Tween

June 2, 2015

I never seem to have time to catch up on the massive pile of review books on my shelf. Fortunately, there’s a 9-year-old (almost 10-year-old) voracious reader in the house. I’ve asked her to tell me about her favorites from the stack. The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens by Henry Clark It’s about these […]

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Changed By Games: Highlights from G4C

May 30, 2015

Where does the time go? It’s been a month since I went to the 12th Annual Games for Change Festival, and I have much to tell you about. It’s an incredibly diverse showcase of games, all designed to get you thinking differently about the world. One theme that came up again and again was the […]

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Interview with a 5-year-old

May 5, 2015

My Oz man is turns 5 today, so it’s once again time for reflection on his favorite things. This year he was able to reflect on why he likes the things he does. So grown up! Favorite Book: The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak “Because it’s so funny.” Favorite TV Show: Transformers: Rescue Bots […]

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