7 Strategies for Highly Successful Teens

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A life changing program for your teens.

I am so excited to announce I have a new program for Teens, Parents and Teachers.

In this fun, entertaining and inspirational talk I go over the 7 strategies for highly effective teens.

This is nothing like your typical high school presentation.

Here are some highlights:

  • Groundbreaking research insights about the teen brain and behavior
  • Hilarious and inspiring videos
  • Immediately applicable action steps to motivate and encourage teens from all levels
  • Relatable stories for teens to feel engaged and understood

I can’t give too much away, but in this talk we delve into both the lighthearted and serious issues teens face including:

  • Effective communication with peers, parents and teachers
  • Mastering the online environment–preventing cyberbullying, staying savvy online and building a digital reputation that lasts
  • School – life balance, reducing stress and finding the right outlets
  • How to have healthy relationships with the important people in a teen’s life
  • Planning for the future, smart college applications, resume building and finding your life passions

I am stoked about this new talk and have already booked out January, February and March at High Schools, youth conferences and Parent groups around the US.

Please contact our manager Lynn Campbell for pricing and date availability:

 manager@radicalparenting.com

*Yes, of course, we have a tween version!

5 Best Board Games for Families

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These games are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

At Radical Parenting we believe that board games are a great way for families to bond and connect. We highly encourage our readers and teen interns to buy board games as gifts, bring board games on family vacations and always keep a board game on hand during free time.

We have chosen 5 of our favorite board games for families:

5 Best Board Games for Families: (All Age Play)

These are our absolute favorite board games for families. They are the best out of all the categories.

1. Cranium

Cranium is one of my family’s all time favorite games. This is played in teams and is wonderful because it is a combination of all the best games–drawing, humming, trivia and even sculpting!

Description of Cranium: The outrageous multi-activity game Cranium Classic now features 600 exciting new playing cards, flexible play length, and a 60-card bonus Family Pack. Add to that 14 wacky activities including hilarious sculpting, acting, and sketching, and you’re in for a fun night of play. So whether you’re an artist, a singer, an actor, or a professional speller–there’s something for everyone in this endearingly oddball board game.

Bonus Game: Believe it or not, bingo is an extremely powerful (and fun) educational tool. You can create your own educational bingo cards on any subject you’d like your kids to learn more about, and even make a fun bingo night out of it.

2. Scene It

This is a game for movie buffs. This game incorporates technology right into playing. You can watch the DVD while moving around the board game and guess movie and celebrity trivia.

Description of Scene It: Let the movie magic begin by simply popping the Scene It’ game disc into your DVD player. Enjoy timeless stars, unforgettable moments, classic lines and laughs in real movie clips from your favorite films, as you answer trivia questions and race around the game board. Scene It’ turns a flat board game into a 3-D multimedia match of memory, logic and pop movie culture. Includes: DVD game, game board, four metal movers, 160 trivia cards in a box, 30 Buzz cards, four reference cards, one 6-sided die, one 8-sided die and instructions. Requires DVD player and TV. For 2 to 4 players players.

Bonus Game: Believe it or not, bingo is an extremely powerful (and fun) educational tool. You can create your own educational bingo cards on any subject you’d like your kids to learn more about, and even make a fun bingo night out of it.

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One of my favorite games of all time!

3. Cashflow Game! 

This is one of the most amazing board games I have ever played. It might seem a little expensive but it is amazing–not just for your kids, but for you as well. It is played in schools across the country and is the most fun way I have found to teach (and learn) about finances.

Description of the Cashflow Game:  The Board Game USA Today Calls “Monopoly on Steroids”. It’s Time to Get Out of the Rat Race. What’s your dream? Freedom of time? Unlimited resources to travel the world? Whatever it may be, CASHFLOW 101 teaches you how to get out of the Rat Race and onto the Fast Track, how to make your money work for you Ð not the other way around. CASHFLOW 101 is an educational board game that simulates real life financial strategies and situations. As a simulation, you learn valuable lessons and gain priceless insights into personal finance and investing without having to put your actual money at risk. Developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the #1 personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad, CASHFLOW 101 is the ultimate realization of Robert’s vision of an interactive tool for financial education, and the fulfillment of his belief that we learn best by doing. With CASHFLOW 101 you: Practice real world investing with play moneyLearn the differences between an asset and a liabilityDiscover the power of understanding your personal financial statementPlan your strategy with Opportunity Cards that include Big and Small DealsChoose your dream, learn the secrets of the rich, and get on the financial fast track. CASHFLOW 101 is an educational board game that teaches accounting, finance, and investing at the same time – and makes learning fun! 

4. Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is a great game for families of kids with all ages because it is a great way of starting conversations and getting to know each other. In fact, according to the University of Michigan, Time Use Study children spend only 45 minutes per week in conversation with any family member! This game will help get families talking and laughing together.

Description of Apples to Apples:  Apples to Apples is an award-winning party game that will have everyone laughing. We had a blast playing this game and think it is a perfect game for a “board game night” with friends and family. It is quick to set up, easy to learn, challenging, and a whole lot of fun. Unexpected and funny comparisons make the game fun to come back to again and again. Apples to Apples has won numerous awards including “Party Game of the Year” by Games magazine and “Mensa Select” by Mensa International. And for good reason: it involves quick thinking, humor, and strategy. For teens, the game teaches them to think about how different things can be compared to one another and how analogies are formed. One of our criticisms is that although the game states that it is designed for ages 12 and older, many of the subjects are clearly for older teens.

5. Monopoly

Monopoly is a great way for teens to learn about money and real estate. Here at Radical Parenting we talk a lot about financial literacy and playing Monopoly is an easy way to talk to kids about saving, spending and getting good at math skills. Play it as a family to encourage discussion and friendly competition. Let your children be the banker to get used to handling the money.

Description of Monopoly: In 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, an unemployed heating engineer from Pennsylvania created the game of Monopoly. Realizing that his get-rich theme might appeal to other Americans, he had the game printed and distributed in a Philadelphia department store. When he couldn’t keep up with the overwhelming requests for more sets, he arranged for Parker Brothers to take over the game. And the rest, as they say, is history. But Monopoly is far from a quaint historical relic. To this day, it remains a riveting game of luck, chance, and savvy wheeling and dealing–all of which can make some lucky dog rich, rich, rich! Based on the purchase of Atlantic City real estate (a city currently renowned for its get-rich gambling opportunities), Monopoly is now printed in 26 languages with more than 200 million sets sold worldwide. Players still scoot the same beloved board pieces: the old shoe, the terrier, and the hot rod. This set also includes rules for a shortened version of the game and a new token, winner of Monopoly’s recent “design a token” contest. This is capitalism at its most fun and ruthless, a must-have edition in the family game closet.

Board games are an awesome way to learn strategy and bond with family and friends. Try having a game night in your house or hosting a game night for your child and their friends.

 

Have you seen our other top picks? 

5 Best Family Gifts

At Radical Parenting we always want special occasions to be celebrated right. What about when you want a gift the whole family can enjoy? This is hard to find especially when you have different age groups. Our interns have come up with some great gifts for families of all ages:

Best Family Gifts

1. Wii

Family video gaming is one of the most popular of modern digital technologies, cutting across age, demographic and gender divides. Wii is designed to encourage integration into existing home entertainment systems so it is easy to implement. Wii can get a family playing together and off the couch to be more active.

2. Fit Deck Junior

FitDeck is a unique deck of Exercise Playing Cards that makes exercise more simple, convenient, and fun. If the family wants to get in shape and make it fun you can use the FitDeck junior deck which has exercises for kids that the family can do together. It never gets boring and it is always challenging. Also easy to bring in the car to the park or toss into a drawer. Not many exercise systems can be used like that!

3. Cranium

Cranium is one of my family’s all time favorite games. This is played in teams and is wonderful because it is a combination of all the best games–drawing, humming, trivia and even sculpting! It has flexible play length, so whether you’re an artist, a singer, an actor, or a professional speller–there’s something for everyone in this classic board game.

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This is so cool and a surprise for everyone! The box is filled with an assortment of boredom-busting games and snacks. You can order this before a family vacation as a birthday treat, or care package.

5. Melissa and Doug Family Dinner Box of Questions

Need to get everyone talking at dinner time? The Melissa and Doug family dinner box of questions is a great thing to have around to get kids (and especially teens and tweens) talking, bonding and connecting.

Be sure to help your child write thank you notes so they are appreciative of all of the wonderful gifts they have received.

If you want to check out more gift ideas check out our Best Gifts Post.

Best Gifts for Families: Radical Parenting Gift Guide

At Radical Parenting we always want special occasions to be celebrated right. But sometimes it is so hard to find the right gift for the right age group. So, we have combed the web and stores and asked our teen interns to review the best gifts for the special person in your life.

We have chosen 5 gift ideas for each category.

Best Gifts for Teens

1. PlayStation Portable

This is hours of entertainment that you can hold in the palm of your hands. Teens can play games, listen to music, connect to the Internet, watch movies, and do more, all in a compact package that you can easily bring with you wherever you go. This is great for road trips or to have in the back of the car just in case there is traffic.

2. Subscription to The Week

If you want your teen to read about current events and stay up to date about what is going on in the world, than The Week will be a great investment. The Week is one of my favorite magazines and I look forward to getting it every Saturday. It is a magazine of all of the news from around the world that week. Teens need to be up on current events and what is happening in the world. This is a great way to stay up on news in a digestible format.

3. Desktop Basketball Game

Your teen will love this vintage style desktop basketball game which features variable basket height – 3 settings and automatic ball return. Whether your teen is heading off to college or just wants a cool (quiet) game in their room, this is a fun choice.

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4. Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn.This game is surprisingly engaging and fun. It is a newer game but absolutely worth trying out–your family will soon be addicted! Teens also love playing this their friends as the strategy and take-overs of rail lines are similar to risk and monopoly combined.

5. Nook

Can we all work together to get kids reading more? A Nook is a cool way for kids to read, take notes and even surf the web. Get your teen a Nook and load it up with some of our favorite books before a vacation or on weekends for reading time.

Best Gifts for Tweens

1. NHL Stanley Cup Air Hockey Game: 

This is an awesome game for tweens to play with friends, siblings or even as a family! We always wanted one of these in my house.  If your kids like having friends over this is a great gift during sleep overs and after school.

2. Nintendo 3DS

This is a very popular gaming system for tweens right now. They can use it with siblings or on road trips. Be sure to set up some electronic guidelines so they don’t get too addicted, but a nice distraction device to have on hand for traffic or rainy days.

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Monopoly is a great way for tweens to learn about money and real estate. Here at Radical Parenting we talk a lot about financial literacy and playing Monopoly is an easy way to talk to kids about saving, spending and getting good at math skills. Play it as a family to encourage discussion and friendly competition. Let your children be the banker to get used to handling the money.

4. Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle

Kids and parents alike are loving the Kinect because it gets kids and teens off the couch and doing interactive play. The bundles come with tons of games that the family can play including getting kids active and playing not just on the couch and playing.

5. Kubit2Me

I discovered Kubit2Me years ago and think this is a great game for getting groups of kids who don’t know each other talking and getting to know each other. It is also very portable and easy to pack and campers can do play this on the first night or during free time to bond, laugh and talk. Easy to understand rules and not many small pieces–perfect for camp!

Best Gifts for Kids

1. Rubik’s Twist:

It’s finally here–a newer version of the Rubik’s Cube, it is almost impossible to figure out. See how long it takes for your kid to stop obsessing over it. I bet not for days. This is a great brain stimulating game and can be in the back of a car or even played while waiting in a restaurant.

2. Chalkboard Wallies: 

If your child has been begging you for a room makeover, this can hold them off a few more months…this sticker paint can be put on walls to create chalkboards.  This can give them lots to do and make their room very cool. They can also put up to do lists and their friends can leave notes.

3. Dart Board: Soft-Tip Dart Game:

Notice the soft tips, darts can be a great thing for kids to do offline and the soft tips will not poke someone’s eye out. Do it as a family or encourage your kids to have friends over to play.

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Does your child want to try something new because their skateboard is kind of becoming boring? Well then the Ripstick G is a great gift. It combines skateboarding and snowboarding and resembles a traditional skateboard. It takes only minutes to master and moves with subtle movements.

5. Water-resistant USB Thumb Drive:

These are always useful for kids who are getting older and sharing the family computer or bringing papers to school to print out papers last minute. Kids often begin transferring files at school or in computer labs. Water resistant is important because—well, you know, kids spill everything.

Best Gifts for Toddlers

1. Classic Balance Bike

If you want to teach your child to ride a bike, then this balance bike is a perfect way to get them to learn naturally. It’s designed for children from two years old and up and allows children to learn the balance and motor skills necessary for biking, safely and naturally, without relying on training wheels. The two-wheel, pedal-free bike allows kids to run the bike along and eventually learn to coast with their feet up.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 8.26.57 AM2. Tobbles

Children can stack, spin, balance these 6 multicolored layers. This is fun for toddlers and great for building skills and hand eye coordination. Not a bad conversation piece for your living room either!

3. Rock and Roll Alphabet

If your child is beginning to learn their letters, Rock and Roll Alphabet is a fun gift idea. Cool music and fun games build excitement about learning to read. It covers the most common sound that each letter makes.

4. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

Kids will giggle while playing this game. Kids collect acorns and have to practice being strategic to make sure their squirrel gets the most. Great for hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.

5. Alex Twist and Drill

Little guys love this drill. Designed especially for little hands, these pint-size tools allow toddlers to practice hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills with variety of multicolored bolts, wheels, and practice holes. The tool set features a power drill with three interchangeable bits that can also be attached to a screwdriver handle.

Best Family Gifts

1. Wii

Family video gaming is one of the most popular of modern digital technologies, cutting across age, demographic and gender divides. Wii is designed to encourage integration into existing home entertainment systems so it is easy to implement. Wii can get a family playing together and off the couch to be more active.

2. Fit Deck Junior

FitDeck is a unique deck of Exercise Playing Cards that makes exercise more simple, convenient, and fun. If the family wants to get in shape and make it fun you can use the FitDeck junior deck which has exercises for kids that the family can do together. It never gets boring and it is always challenging. Also easy to bring in the car to the park or toss into a drawer. Not many exercise systems can be used like that!

3. Cranium

Cranium is one of my family’s all time favorite games. This is played in teams and is wonderful because it is a combination of all the best games–drawing, humming, trivia and even sculpting! It has flexible play length, so whether you’re an artist, a singer, an actor, or a professional speller–there’s something for everyone in this classic board game.

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This is so cool and a surprise for everyone! The box is filled with an assortment of boredom-busting games and snacks. You can order this before a family vacation as a birthday treat, or care package.

5. Melissa and Doug Family Dinner Box of Questions

Need to get everyone talking at dinner time? The Melissa and Doug family dinner box of questions is a great thing to have around to get kids (and especially teens and tweens) talking, bonding and connecting.

Best Gifts for Moms

1. Mole skin notebook

This notebook is great to take notes in, jot down ideas, make lists or even journal. If your Mom is constantly trying to keep track of things, she will love this notebook. Start it off with a nice note to her on the first page then every time she opens it she will see something from you!

2. Thumper Massager

Mom will love this massager after a long day. It improves circulation of blood and lymph and gets energy deep into muscle tissue. If you really want to make Mom happy offer to do the dishes while she puts her feet up and massages her shoulders!

3. Bluetooth Keychain GPS w/ Live Search

Does your mom often get lost? This small wonder will go with you anywhere! This compact size bluetooth can even go on a keychain! Built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery for at least 10 hours of operation and your Mom will love this new gadget so she never gets lost again.

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Mom’s are all about efficient use of time and space. The Uni-tool has five functions in one tool. With this one tool Mom has a slotted spoon, a turner, a solid spoon, a spatula and a cutting tool. It’s made from tough nylon and is heat resistant.

5. Foot Spa

There is nothing better after a long day then putting your feet in a warm bath and relaxing. This foot spa treatment massages your feet with waterfall, dual bubble action that can relax even the most tired. It also comes with 3 separate attachments including: pumice, brush and pin-point massage.

Best Gifts for Dad

Dad deserves some great gifts on his day. Try some of these gift ideas for Father’s Day:

1. Kindle

Dad will love a new Kindle to read, take notes and have for business travel or to keep in the back of the car. Kindles can hold his favorite books as well as newspapers and periodicals he likes to read all in one place!

2. Executive Travel Putter with Telescoping Shaft and Simulated Hole

Whether Dad uses this at work or at home, he will love this golf set, which includes an adjustable putter with a telescoping handle and simulated golf hole and ball. It’s even small enough to travel with and throw in a duffel!

3. Mini Indoor Helicopter

This might drive Mom a little crazy, but it sure will make Dad happy! This mini Indoor Helicopter can be flown indoors or outdoors and flies in 6 different directions and can be flown up to 10 meters away.

4. Nike Fuel Band

If your Dad is trying to get in shape or just have an idea of what kind of energy he is burning, the Nike Fuel band is an awesome gift. Nike’s all day activity tracker is completely waterproof and displays real time progress towards your daily goals so you stay motivated to burn more calories, take more steps, and keep moving to accomplish your personal NikeFuel score.

5. Madden NFL 11 (XBOX 360): 

Help Dad feel like the touchdown hero he really is with this down to the core guy game. With every noise and move, they’ll feel like they are playing in the actual team instead of moving their fingers. It’s no secret that guys love their video games, but when you mix that with sports, your athlete will have gotten a taste of heaven.

Best Gifts for Parents

1. Picnic Backpack

Encourage your family to do more outdoor activities together. The Picnic Backpack makes it so much easier to take food with you. It has an insulated cooler and is divided into two sections. The top mesh section, with it’s drawstring closure, is designed to hold clothing, towels, or other gear that needs to breathe. The bottom section features ThermoGuard insulation to keep food warm or cool for hours and a heat-sealed, water-resistant lining to guard against leaks. Perfect for day trips, hiking, the beach, sporting events, and fishing.

2. Digital Picture Frame of You!

If you want to get your parents something special, then get them this awesome digital photo frame and load it up with pictures of you and the family. Mom and Dad can put it in the house or Dad can bring it to his office.

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So, why would everyone love this tool? Dad will love this new power screwdriver with magnetic screw holder and Mom will love it because it will get things off of her honey-do list around the house. Everyone wins!

4. Coupon Book

You can make your own coupon book for your parents or you can get these ones, one for Dad and one for Mom. They will love all of the acts of love you can give them whenever they need you most.

5. Waffle Maker

Waffle Makers are fun for the whole family on Saturday or Sunday morning. This waffle maker makes 1-inch thick, 7-inch round gourmet quality waffles with extra deep pockets and 4 easy cut sections. Make chocolate chip, banana or blueberry waffles at home.

Best Graduation Gifts

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Graduates will love this travel charger because they will be on the road back and forth from college or new jobs a lot. The GreenZero technology eliminates wasteful stand-by consumption energy because it automatically shuts off with zero idle power when device is fully charged. It also has a cool design in addition to being functional. Every graduate nowadays have tons of devices, so get them something they can juice up with!

2. Netbook

A netbook is a smaller lighter laptop. Perfect for college students who want to take notes in class and haul their computer all over campus. This netbook is a great one because it is not too expensive (especially for a computer) in case it is spilled on or dropped but has all the functions a college student would need.

3. Subscription to The Week

This is what I got my sister for her High School graduation. The Week is one of my favorite magazines and I look forward to getting it every Saturday. It is a magazine of all of the news from around the world that week. Graduates need to be up on current events and what is happening in the world. This is a great way to stay up on news in a digestible format.

4. Cashflow Game! 

This is one of the most amazing games I have ever played. Graduates are going to be on their own for the first time and they need to learn about finances, budgeting and how money works in the real world. The Cashflow Game was actually designed to teach financial literacy in a more fun way. It is played at business schools around  the country. If you can give your child the gift of financial smarts, there is nothing better for them to have before starting life on their own.

5. iPad

If you are feeling really generous you can get your graduate an iPad which they can use to read, take notes on and even video chat with you from school! Students can now get their textbooks on the iPad and take notes on them right there. There also a number of academic apps students can use for vocab, library and testing–not to mention some of the fun ones like Netflix and Boggle.

Best Gifts for Kids Going Away to College / College Freshmen

1. Boggle

We get addicted to playing boggle because of the twist and shake start. This boggle is compact and quieter than older versions. In 3 minutes you have to find the most words you can. Great for cramped dorms or road trips. Very little space needed!

2. Wireless Speakers:

Wireless speakers for a phone, ipod or MP3 are great for dorm rooms. This is great to play music while hanging out, getting ready or even during studying (nothing too distracting of course).

3. Table Topics College

This is a small game that is easy to pack and has a series of get to know you and thought provoking questions that new friends can ask each other. This is also a great activity for dorm meetings or for residential advisors to encourage their dorm mates to get to know each other.

4. Solar Computer Backpack: 

Does your teen have a ton of electronics? This might help keep everything charged (I kinda want one) while they are away and walking around campus. I always used to forget to charge my phone or wouldn’t have time to charge my computer in between classes. This charging backpack would have saved me a lot of time.

5. Twister

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Perhaps this is not a parent’s favorite game for their kids to bring to college, but it sure will be their teen’s favorite game! Twister is the fun and hilariously awkward really get to know each other game. Your college student will love playing this game in cramped dorms with new friends.

 

 Gifts are a wonderful part of showing appreciation and celebrating with those you love. Remember this still means it is important to be grateful. Have kids clean out their room, closets, attic and garage and take old toys and electronics to Goodwill. This makes room for the new and teaches kids they have to give back as they receive. You can also volunteer at a soup kitchen or bring gifts to a local children’s hospital over break to get kids thinking about those who are less fortunate. Most importantly, enjoy these gifts together! Celebrate and play as a family and make sure your kids write thank you notes for all the great gifts they received.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

5 Best Games to Bring on Family Vacation: Best Board Games for Travel

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These games are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

At Radical Parenting we believe that board games are a great way for families to bond and connect. We highly encourage our readers and teen interns to buy board games as gifts, bring board games on family vacations and always keep a board game on hand during free time.

We have chosen 5 of our favorite board games for families to bring on family vacation. These board games are the perfect thing to bring while traveling with kids.

Best Board Games to Bring on Family Vacation

1. Bananagrams

Bananagrams is compact and easy to travel with because it comes in a fabric banana! Kids will love it and it can easily be put in the back of a car pocket or backpack for table top play. This is great for teaching kids words and critical thinking.

Description of Bananagrams: The Anagram game that will drive you bananas. The award-winning word game that needs no pencil, paper, or board. Fast and fun. Players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles first. Great for travel.

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We have all played a little I spy on the road, this game that comes in an easy to pack tin has things to spot that the family can play together. A bit like travel bingo or real life bingo, this will pass hours in the car quickly.

Description of Spot It: Spot it! has officially hit the open road. Each colorful symbol is something you’d see on a typical road trip. This edition has a new way to play while in the car: Travel Bingo. Whether you’re in the big city, cruising down the highway, or just around town, there is always something to spot. Be sure to pack Spot it! On the Road to bust backseat boredom wherever you go. This little tin has everything you need for endlessly fun car games! Includes 55 cards in a tin canister.

3. Guess Who?

If you have two kids in the back seat, Guess Who is the perfect lap game. It has no extra pieces and the boards can sit on kids laps in the backseat while they will play for hours.

Description of Guess Who: It’s the guessing game you know and love, with more choices than ever! Narrow down your guesses with yes or no questions like, “Do you have brown eyes?”or “Are you wearing a hat?” Once you have the answer, make your guess. Use the 2 character sheets included or go online to download more. Then slide the sheet of characters into the game tray and guess away!

4. Scavenger Hunt for Kids

This is a great on the go game and every child loves a scavenger hunt. This traveling treasure map works great for cars and vacations.Both parents and adults can play.

Description of Scavenger Hunt for Kids: Our games are specially packages in decorative tin boxes for take anywhere, play anywhere fun. These games are for kids and adults on the go. Sturdy travel boxes are easy to to to the playground or on a road trip. 2 or more players. Kids and adults.

5. Boggle

Kids get addicted to playing boggle because of the twist and shake start. This boggle is compact and quieter than older versions. In 3 minutes kids have to find the most words they can. Great for cramped back seats or rainy camp days in the tent. Very little space needed!

Description of Boggle: Twist and shake… set it and play. Boggle now comes in a compact case that’s never been easier on the hands, ears or eyes. Just twist and raise the lid, shake the letter cubes in the quiet case, then search for words as the 3-minute timer counts down.

Board games are an awesome way to learn strategy and bond with family and friends. Try having a game night in your house or hosting a game night for your child and their friends.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

5 Books to Buy For Your Teen Boy This Summer

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These books are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

It is so important to encourage young readers. Teen boys especially are in desperate need of finding and diving into books they love. Here are some popular, adventure filled books that are appealing to teen boy readers.

Pick up these books and let your teen boy fall in love with the stories and the characters!

Our Favorite Books for Teen Boys:

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.04.21 AM1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This trilogy is addictive and has been called the Hunger Games for males. Dashner has captured the spirit, mystery and rebelliousness teen boy readers will love.

Summary of the Maze Runner: Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up in the middle of a maze, with no memory, and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape. But once he escapes, he discovers the outside world is a new and dangerous place.

2. Feed by M. T. Anderson

In the digital age, Anderson has brought new questions about privacy, security and constantly being plugged in to life. If you have a teen boy who loves technology he will love Andreson’s modern thriller, Feed.

Summary of Feed: In the future, most people will have a Feed chip implanted in their heads that connects everyone to an evolved version of the Internet — at the cost of even basic privacy. During spring break on the moon, Titus and Violet meet and build a relationship when their Feeds are hacked.

3. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

One of my favorite books, Farmer takes a reader on a wild ride where you never know what is coming around the page. Main character Matt is relatable and a character you can’t help but route for.

Summary of the House of the Scorpion: In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States. Escape is his only chance to survive — but even that may not save him.

4. I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak

Zusak is the acclaimed author of the Book Thief (another amazing read) and this story will appeal to teen boys in its fast-paced, witty style.

Summary of I Am The Messanger: The dull and drab life of Ed, an underage cab driver with a coffee-addicted dog, takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally stops a bank robbery and finds himself being placed in charge of watching out for the entire town.

5. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

This book is for any teen boy who hates rules and authority. Cormier captures the rebellious spirit of the teen male in his book the Chocolate War.

Summary of the Chocolate War: The world of Trinity School is turned upside down when freshman Jerry Renault refuses to sell chocolates for the school’s annual fundraiser. Jerry becomes a nonconformist hero for some — and a target of hatred for others.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

5 Best Board Games for Kids: Ages 6 to 10

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These games are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

At Radical Parenting we believe that board games are a great way for families to bond and connect. We highly encourage our readers and teen interns to buy board games as gifts, bring board games on family vacations and always keep a board game on hand during free time.

We have chosen 5 of our favorite board games for kids:

5 Best Board Games for Kids: (Ages 6-10)

1. Candyland

Boy oh boy do kids love their candy and their games. Candyland is a classic and right of passage to play while growing up. This game requires no reading and has colorful graphics and cards that kids will love.

Description of Candyland: Every child’s first game, Candy Land is a colorful way for a preschooler to experience the joy of game play. The game teaches color recognition and matching while reinforcing the lesson of taking turns and being a gracious winner or loser. You will love to see the smile on a young person’s face as they travel through Candy Land. Includes four gingerbread pawns, a gameboard, a card deck, and instructions in English and Spanish.

2. Chutes and Ladders

This is a great game for kids because it is engaging and is a slow introduction to the higher numbers. This game is the official follow-up to Candyland so if your child has outgrown or wants to try a new board game this is a great one to try next!

Description of Chutes and Ladders: Be the first to move your child-shaped playing piece from square one to square 100 on the Chutes and Ladders game board–but watch out! If you land on the square that shows you ate too much candy–Ouch!–you get a tummy ache and slide down a chute to a square a few numbers below. But if you end your turn on a good-deed square, such as helping sweep up a mess, you’ll be rewarded by a ladder-climb up the board. A fantastic follow-up to Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders is ideal for younger children who are still learning to take turns and just beginning to recognize numbers (the spinner stays in the single digits). It’s also a gentle introduction to the higher numbers as players climb to 100 at the top of the board. And, thanks to all those chutes and ladders, it’s got enough excitement to keep your 7-year-old on the edge of her seat. English and Spanish instructions are included; no reading is necessary to play. Chutes and Ladders is for two to four players. –Julie Ubben

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We think reading, vocabulary and words are so important. Get kids thinking about words early and play with them on letters and crosswords so they can be addicted to grown-up scrabble in a few years.

Description of Scrabble Junior: What a great way for kids to play America’s favorite word game! Kid-sized words and colorful pictures make it fun to match letter tiles to words on the grid. Players collect scoring chips for completing words. When all of the tiles have been placed on the board, the player with the most chips wins! Ages 5 & up. Classic board game provides children the opportunity to work on their spelling and reading skills while having fun. Flip over the gameboard for an advanced game where players create their own words–the game grows with the kids! Includes two-sided gameboard, 101 cardboard letter tiles, 44 scoring chips, and beginner and advanced rules. For 2-4 players.

4. Monopoly Junior

Monopoly is a wonderful way to teach kids about financial literacy. Monopoly is a great game to slowly teach kids about money, counting and a good foundation for advanced monopoly which introduces real estate, mortgages and payments. They don’t need to know those words now, but getting started early will help your kids understand basic financial smarts.

Description of Monopoly Junior:  MONOPOLY game for kids! Start your kids on a lifelong journey of MONOPOLY fun with this fast, exciting and easy-to-learn game. Kids buy properties, get Chance cards and earn cash for passing GO – it’s the grown-up game made simple for kids. For 2 to 4 players ages 5 and up

5. Qwirkle

This game is a combination of some other favorites like Scrabble and Othello. A game of matching and plotting, this is a Mensa award winner so it can really get your child thinking.

Description of Qwirkle: An addictive strategy game in the tradition of Sequence, Scrabble, and Othello, the Qwirkle Board Game from MindWare has a simple, straightforward premise: match tiles and win points. But the real joy of the game lies in plotting and scheming your way to victory. Winner of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and a Mensa Select National Competition Winner, Qwirkle is destined to be a family game night favorite. This game is designed for ages six and up and for two to four players. Qwirkle consists of 108 wooden blocks with six different shapes in six colors. Using the blocks, players attempt to score the most points by building lines that share the same shape or color. The simple setup makes this an instant winner for younger kids, while adults will enjoy strategizing to win.

Board games are an awesome way to learn strategy and bond with family and friends. Try having a game night in your house or hosting a game night for your child and their friends.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

Best Books for Children

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These books are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

Here at Radical Parenting, we believe that reading is essential for kids. So every year we pick our favorite books and recommendations for our readers. We comb the web, amazon and reviews looking for the best books for kids and then pick our top recommendations for you.

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.31.01 AMFive Classic Books Every Child Should Have:

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

3. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

4. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

5. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Our Five Favorite New Books for Children (Ages 2-7)

1. Let’s Go for a Drive!  By Mo Willems

Good friends Elephant and Piggie’s best plans in preparing to take a drive go awry when they realize they have no car. (A 2013 Geisel Honor Book)

2. Black Dog. By Levi Pinfold

Here’s a story that demonstrates that even the smallest family member has the courage to save everyone. Both the illustrations and the text move from scary to comforting with a satisfying ending.

3. Extra Yarn. By Mac Barnett . Illus. by Jon Klassen

A selfish archduke threatens to halt a little girl’s transformation of a colorless town and steal her box of magical yarn.  (A 2013 Caldecott Honor Book)

4. Oh, No! By Candace Fleming. Illus. by Eric Rohmann

With exuberant rhythmic phrases and jungle colored illustrations, five animals are disturbed by a grinning tiger and fall into a hole, one by one. This suspenseful cumulative tale is an engaging read-aloud.

5. Up, Tall, and High! By Ethan Long

A bevy of birds performs a play in three acts, while teaching the concepts of up, tall, and high. Children will delight in reading additional words hidden beneath thick flaps. (The 2013 Geisel Medal Book)

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.47.07 AMOur Five Favorite New Books for Children (Ages 8-10)

1. A Black Hole Is Not a Hole. By Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano. Illus. by Michael Carroll. Charlesbridge.

Using analogies within a child’s experience, this deceptively clear, engaging introduction to black holes describes, explains, excites, and sparks a sense of wonder.

2. Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team. By Audrey Vernick.  Illus. by Steven Salerno. Clarion/Houghton.

The Acerra family had twelve sons who all played baseball together from the time they were children, through World War II, and into adulthood. The story of their camaraderie and positive family attitude is as inspiring as their baseball records. Retro illustrations take readers back to the 1930s and 1940s.

3. Iceberg, Right Ahead!: The Tragedy of the Titanic. By Stephanie Sammartino McPherson. illus. Lerner/Twenty-First Century.

Drawing from official documents, logs, and diaries and illlustrated with plentiful photographs, this well-organized, gripping chronicle records the tragic story, from the original design and construction to the discovery of the ship’s remains and motion picture recreations.

4. Liar & Spy. By Rebecca Stead. Random/Wendy Lamb.

What’s real and what’s deception? This subtle story, with unlikely friendships and secrets to be revealed, will intrigue readers and encourage a second reading.

5. Wonder. By R. J. Palacio. Knopf.

Born with facial deformities, August chooses to attend “regular” school for the first time.  Told from many perspectives, this is a powerful novel about friendship and acceptance.

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.50.26 AMOur Five Favorite New Books for Children (Ages 11-14)

Also see our favorite books for young adults and tweens!

1. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. By Sonia Manzano

In 1969 Spanish Harlem, fourteen-year-old Evelyn Serrano is caught in a whirlwind of events led by the revolutionary Young Lords and learns to value her own culture and history. (A 2013 Belpré Author Honor Book)

2. Son. By Lois Lowry

The powerful conclusion of The Giver quartet, Son stands alone as a story of friendship, love, loss, and sacrifice.

3. Temple Grandin: How the Girl who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World. By Sy Montgomery

Using interviews, blueprints, and accessible narrative, the author explains the workings of the autistic brain while introducing the life of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman famous for her animal rights advocacy.

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. By Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This truly universal novel about the friendship of two boys on the edge of manhood addresses issues of identity, friendship, family, and love. (The 2013 Belpré Author Medal Book, a Printz Honor Book, and the Stonewall Award Book)

5. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. By Candace Fleming

In her clear, readable style, Fleming shows how Earhart captured the public imagination. Chapters of background information alternate with the chilling account of her final flight. Enhanced with maps, archival documents, news photos, and other contemporary sources.

We hope you will consider bringing more books into your own home. Feel free to leave us your favorite books in the comments.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

Best Books for Teens

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Our teen interns worked very hard reviewing the hundreds of submissions we received for the Best Teen Book contest.

Here are some of the favorite books for fellow teens:

Best Fiction Books for Teens

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

The Uglies series of books are not only intensely thrilling and hard to put down, but also will get teens thinking about larger issues. Scott Westerfield masterfully ties in questions of identity, image and self confidence in his adventure filled book series. For teens who liked the Hunger Games or the Gone series, the Uglies is another classic they won’t want to put down.

TTYL by Lauren Myracle

TTYL, written by Lauren Myracle, is a very unique book.  It is completely written in the instant messages exchanged between the three friends throughout their grade 10 year at high school. This book was very entertaining to read and dealt with hilarious situations. It also deals with the regular teen issues such as popularity, relationships, drinking, and drugs. It is a very quick and fun read as Lauren Myracle is a funny lady who knows how to make teens laugh.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere is an extremely impressive book. Although no one knows or will ever know what happens or where one goes following death, Gabrielle Zevin manages to create a completely believable afterlife. It is so realistic that one cannot help but wonder if it is true. It would be a very pleasant way to spend time in the after life. In this world, people who die go to heaven and live quite normal lives with the exception that they age backwards and never grow ill. They get younger instead of older until they become babies, and once more are born as a different person on Earth. The main character, Liz Hall, is learning all of these new things after her unexpected death at 15. She must learn to cope with this new life and let go of her old one while watching her family from heaven.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Another success from Sarah Dessen, this book lives up to reader’s expectations. Just Listen kept me hooked from the beginning until the end, willing me to keep reading. I was very impressed with this book as I am with all of her books. It has an interesting plot, which centers on a high school girl, Annabelle, and her experience with being raped by her best friend’s boyfriend. Along with this terrifying occurrence, her sister suffers from extreme anorexia and over-exercising, and so must go through intensive therapy after almost dying. Annabelle’s life may look perfect from the outside-she’s a model, and was one of the most popular girls at school-but this book reveals her suffering and what she faces every day. Along with its interesting plot, it also incorporates the timeless message of ‘not to judge a book by its cover’.

Slept Away by Julie Kraut

Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. Love this great summer read by the author of Hot Mess.  Teens will love it as Julie Kraut’s voice is young, fun and very relatable to teen girls. Any teenager who has moved will be able to relate to the stories struggling heroine. Great summer or vacation reading!

Best Non-Fiction Books for Teens

The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving The Planet by Jenn Savedge

Today’s teenagers are standing at the crossroads of environmental history and The Green Teen gives them the info they need to minimize their environmental impact at home, at school, and in their communities and get their concerns recognized by school officials, politicians, media, and even their own parents.

Coping with Cliques by Susan Sprague

This book is for young women dealing with gossip, teasing, bullying, and peer pressure in junior high and high school. This is something that too many girls are dealing with, and learning how to deal with it in an effective way helps girls grow into young women with high self-esteem.

Teen Entrepreneur Success Secrets: The Essential Guide to Starting and Growing a Business by-Shonika Proctor

Teens don’t want to be helped, they want to be empowered. They want to be given the same information and opportunities as adults, however, they don’t want to get the condensed version in a “Rated G” format. While a life coach helps teens to get their you know what together, a teen entrepreneur coach supports teens as they discover what their you know what is.

The Laugh Out Loud Guide: Ace the SAT Exam without Boring Yourself to Sleep! 
by Charles Horn

Research shows that comedy enhances learning, reduces stress, makes subjects more interesting, and increases recall. Students can now literally laugh their way to a higher test score.

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These books are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

Best Self Help Books for Teens

Questions Young People Ask, Answers That Work, Volumes 1&2 by Dr Andrea Frayser

This book provides honest workable answers to questions that kids and parents often wrestle with like: Why Don’t I Like Myself? How Do I Know if It’s Real Love? What If My Parents Are Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol? How Can I Protect Myself at School? Can I Be Happy In A Single Parent Family? and More.

MY FEET AREN’T UGLY, A GIRLS GUIDE TO LOVING HERSELF FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Debra Beck

Debra’s style of writing and insight into teen girls issues today really reaches out to them in their language. There are parts that are funny, deep and very revealing as to who we all are and the problems we all face and solutions are given!

My Life Unscripted: Who’s Writing Your Life? by Tricia Goyer

Goyer’s book is written for 12 – 20 year-old girls. Parent’s will LOVE this book, because it teaches girls to navigate their tween/teen years without giving in to peer pressure. It gives girls the tools they need to decide what they will and won’t do before they are faced with temptations, peer pressure, and/or difficult situations.

Special Topics: Interesting Books for Teens

Sew with Sara by Sara Trail

Sara shows you how easy and fun it is to sew cute clothes and accessories-and make money from your sewing. 9 beginner-friendly projects include PJs, pillows, a tote bag, a cell phone or MP3 player cover, an apron, a notebook cover, and more. Laugh along with Sara’s journal entries.

The Ultimate Girls’ Guide to Understanding and Caring for Your Body by Isabel and Emily Lluch

The book covers all the topics preteen and teen girls are wondering about but might not know who to talk to, or might not be comfortable asking an adult about, including hygiene, beauty, healthy eating, periods, bras, acne, social situations, and more. The best part: the book’s authors, Isabel and Emily Lluch, are sisters who are 13 and 16, so they know all about the changes and questions girls have during puberty. The girls give advice on these important topics, along with the advice from a panel of 6 experts in the medical and beauty industries.

Wishing: Diaries of a Teen Pregnancy by Kim McLeod

This book is the largely unedited diary of the author during her mid-teens, as she struggled with drinking and drug addiction, religion and family conflicts, and finally, teen pregnancy. You can’t get better insight into a teenage mind than this girl’s voice in all of its raw honesty.

Top Teen Book Picks:

“When you pick up a book and dive into another story, it’s like escaping into a different world. There are so many books out there that practically anyone can find a book that they will enjoy. The books I read leave lasting impressions so that I remember them well after I have turned the last page.” Laura, 17

The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever is an amazing novel written by Sarah Dessen. It follows the summer of Macy, a sixteen-year-old who is known around her town for the girl who saw her father die. While trying to maintain a perfect SAT score and her job at the library with the ultra-perfect girls working there, she realizes that she needs a change from her constant strive for perfection. She stumbles upon a job at a catering company, whose employees are less than perfect and she fits in effortlessly. It is a very hectic job, but it is what she needs in her life.

“I read this book when I was 10 and absolutely loved it. I think it is one of the best books for young adults to read because it was both inspiring and action packed. Especially for summer reading or if you are trying to find a book for your tween during summer vacation, give Eragon a try!” –Maggie, 15

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Prep is such an amazing novel especially for teens who feel out of place and alone. This can get a bit heavy at times, but really digs deep into many of the issues teens face on a daily basis like dating, studying, cliques and social pressure. The characters are also deep and interesting to follow along with.

” I read this book from cover to cover in the span of a few hours. I felt like I was cheating myself of Kaela and her new extraordinary and supernatural friends whenever I put it down to eat. This book doesn’t contain an extraneous word or a boring scene. The story flows from page to page like a beautiful clear stream. In the end, I still craved for more of Kaela Neuleaf and her cousin Shawn. Thankfully, Barbara A. Mahler is working on the second book in the trilogy. In the meantime, I recommend you pass by your local bookstore and explore the hole in the Sky.” –Gema, 18

The Hole in the Sky by Barbara A. Mahler

The Hole in the Sky is just the first in a trilogy and needs to be on everyone’s shelf. Although written for the readers between ages eight and thirteen, anyone who’s struggled with loss and grief can relate to Kaela’s journey. Interestingly enough, this book was inspired by the September 11th tragedy. What I found particularly remarkable is that Barbara A. Mahler is able to demonstrate the power of love without sacrificing the characters’ adventures or personalities. Grief has affected Kaela with the death of her mother. Even though she risks her life in this new world, the real adventure is in overcoming grief, fears and allowing love into her heart.  When we hear about “the power of love”, the stereotypical image of hippies and peace and love signs usually come to mind but that is not the case in this book. The Hole in the Sky is able to teach us about the dangers of a hardened heart and the benefits of love without having Kumbaya playing in the background.

Have you seen our other top picks? 

5 Books to Buy For Your Teen Girl

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Here at Radical Parenting we think it is very important for teens to read more. The best way to get your teen reading is to find them amazing books that they cannot put down.

Some of these books you might enjoy as well! Consider reading them together and having a mother-daughter book club to discuss your favorite characters and fun plot twists.

Here are our favorite books for teen girls this summer:

1. Matched Series by Ally Condie

If your teen girl liked the Hunger Games or the Twilight series then this book is for her! Condie takes readers on an adventurous ride through a utopian world. Vaguely reminiscent of the Giver, the book poses great moral questions to young readers.

Summary of the Matched Series: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her, so when Xander appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate — until Ky Markham’s face appears for an instant before the screen fades to black.

2. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

This is one of my sister’s favorite series and for teen girls who like historical fiction, Bray ties in romance, history and mystery in a great summer reading series.

Summary the Gemma Doyle Trilogy: After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, 16-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school. There, she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world. But what will she find in that strange world?

3. Divergent Series By Veronica Roth

Divergent is the up and coming Hunger Games series. Roth does an amazing job of hooking a young reader in the very first few pages. And boy is it a page turner! Your teen girl will fall in love with both Beatrice and her mission.

Summary of Divergent: In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

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These books are Teen Approved by our teen interns!

4. Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This lovely little book touches the shy outsider within all of us. Ransom Riggs ties in photos and story on a journey for both readers and his lovable characters.

Summary Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children: After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering that the children once kept there — including his own grandfather — may have been dangerous, and may be still alive.

5. Austenland by Shannon Hale

If you have a romantic in the house, this book will be a favorite for your teen girl. Hale brilliantly ties in the charm of Jane Austen with the pace and wit of a modern novel.

Summary of Austenland: Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man—perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation ofPride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Have you seen our other top picks?