The Ultimate List of Dad-Approved Holiday Gifts for Kids

Not sure if you’ve heard (like, a jillion times), but the holidays are coming. No pressure or anything, but finding the perfect gifts for your kids is kinda important this time of year. Luckily, we’ve put together a dad-approved list, so you can get in, get out, and be the holiday hero.

Here are some of our (and more importantly, our kids’) faves:

Toys

GUND Peek-A-Boo Teddy Bear

GUND Peek-A-Boo Teddy Bear Animated Stuffed Animal Plush-best gifts for kids

Remember Teddy Ruxpin? This is like his softer, cuddlier, way-less-creepy cousin. This bear not only raises his arms and actually peek-a-boos, but he also talks! Babies and toddlers are fascinated — which means you have time for a game or two of Madden.

$19.99 AT AMAZON

Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set

Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set- best gifts for kids

Jesse Pinkman’s favorite toy is a classic, 100-piece set, featuring 3D magnetic building tiles that let kids create all sorts of shapes and structures, and spark imaginative play. Best of all for you, they don’t hurt like hell when you step on them. “Yeah, bitch! Magnets!” 

$19.95 AT AMAZON

Dyson Toy Vacuum

Dyson Toy Vacuum- best gifts for kids

It’s never too early to teach ’em to clean up after themselves (or to fall in love with things that go vroom). As an added bonus, this miniature Dyson replica actually works on tiny messes.

$26.99 AT AMAZON

WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet

WowWee Baby Shark Official Song Puppet with Tempo Control- best gifts for kids

We know, we know. Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo, drives you to drink, doo doo doo doo doo doo. But the kids love the freaking thing, and this puppet actually sings the song when you move its mouth. Pro tip: the faster you move your hand, the faster it sings…and the faster it’s over.

$14.88 AT AMAZON

Mansalee Coin Stealing Panda Piggy Bank

Panda Piggy Bank- best gifts for kids

This bank encourages kids to save their money. (Or to not trust pandas. Both are useful tips.) Every time they place a coin on the circle, that darn panda pops up and grabs it. Maybe his dad never told him money doesn’t grow on bamboo trees.

$13.98 AT AMAZON

Little Tikes TotSports Easy Hit Golf Set

Little Tikes Toy Golf Set-best gifts for kids

Golfing with your kid is one of those iconic joys of fatherhood. Here’s a good way to plant the seed early. This mini-sized set is perfect fore the next generation of PGA stars.

$21.99 AT AMAZON

Frozen Disney Elsa, Anna, & Olaf Deluxe Fashion Doll Set

Frozen Disney Elsa, Anna, & Olaf Deluxe Fashion Doll Set- best gifts for kids

Just when you thought it was time to Let It Go…Frozen 2 is here, and it’s starting all over again. These Anna and Elsa dolls are wearing dresses from the sequel, and our boy Olaf is there too. That little weirdo is always there.

$59.99 AT AMAZON

LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart

LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart- best gifts for kids

Your toddler’s probably screaming anyway, so at least now you can pretend they’re screaming for ice cream. This interactive ice cream cart teaches colors and numbers and plays music to dance to.

$29.82 AT AMAZON

 

Skyrocket Blume Doll

Skyrocket Blume Doll- Best Gifts for Kids

$9.88 AT AMAZON

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Kit

LEGO Hogwarts Set-Best Gifts For Kids

150 points for Gryffindor when your little Muggles assemble this Hogwarts LEGO set. It comes with 800+ pieces to build the Great Hall, and 10 of their favorite characters, including Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and Nearly Headless Nick. It’s LEGO, so of course, all pieces also come with a Crucio spell (immense pain) when you step on them.

$99.95 AT AMAZON

Untamed T-Rex by Fingerlings

Untamed T-Rex by Fingerling- Best gifts for kids

Will dino-obsessed kids love having this tiny T-Rex attached to their finger all day long? You bet Jurassic they will.

$14.99 AT AMAZON

Outdoor Games

Spikeball 3 Ball Kit

Spikeball Kit- best gifts for kids

You’ve seen this at the beach and been like WTF is that, right? Spikeball is a super-fun 2-on-2 indoor/outdoor game that’s sort of live volleyball on a trampoline. Or something like that. The kids will love it.

$59.99 AT AMAZON

WisToyz Kids Toys Hover Soccer Ball Set

WisToyz Hover Soccer Ball Set- gifts for kids

Because they can never get enough soccer, this indoor LED-light up floating ball glides easily over any smooth surface, like low-pile carpet or hardwood. Bonus: You don’t have to sit on the sidelines with those screaming maniacs for 2 hours!

$25.95 AT AMAZON

Nerf N-Strike Elite Trilogy DS-15 Toy Blaster

Nerf Blaster-best gifts for kids

This Trilogy blaster fires 3 darts at once (get it? Trilogy?) with a pump-action, so there’s no need for batteries.

$34.88 AT WALMART

Games & Puzzles

Catan Junior

Catan Junior

Catan Junior has everything that grown-ups love, but it’s slightly less complicated for kids. Prepare for swashbucklers, hideouts, a Spooky Island, and a mysterious Ghost Captain. (And don’t forget to let the kids play!)

$23.99 AT AMAZON

ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Logic Game

ThinkFun Gravity Maze Falling Marble Logic Game- best gifts for kids

This combination logic game, marble run, and STEM toy helps kids develop spatial reasoning and planning skills. It’s got 60 challenges from beginner to expert, a game grid, 9 towers, 1 target piece, and 3 marbles.

$29.95 AT AMAZON

Ravensburger Children’s World Globe 

Ravensburger Children's 180 Piece 3D Globe Jigsaw Puzzle

This 3-D globe puzzle is the perfect introduction to world geography for little explorers. Each continent piece is chunky and easy for little hands to grasp, and it helps convince them early on that learning can actually be fun!

$16.49 AT AMAZON

Activity Kits

VTech DigiArt Creative Easel

VTech DigiArt Creative Easel

A digital easel is way cooler than the original — and way easier to clean. This fun gadget comes with a special pen that helps kids learn their alphabet, numbers, and shapes through light up features on the board. There are over 100 objects to draw, with super-helpful instructions. 

$61.98 AT AMAZON

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Mega Crystal Growing Lab

National Geographic Mega Crystal Growing Lab- best gifts for kids

Crystals are just always cool. This STEM chemistry kit lets your kid magically grow their own formations in 8 different colors, while instilling a love of science.

$29.99 AT AMAZON

ALEX Discover My Giant Busy Box

ALEX Toys My Giant Busy Box Craft Kit- best gifts for kids

With play dough, stickers, and craft supplies (and other stuff too) this preschool box is an imagination-filled way to keep kids entertained for a while. They’ll totally make a mess, but it’s worth it.

$19.35 AT AMAZON

Tech

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch- best gifts for kids

The Nintendo Switch is an amazing on-the-go gaming system that can also be used at home. It switches between handheld, table mode, and TV mode (just dock it in its station), and even has a touch screen. Technically, it’s for kids…but whatever.

$299.00 AT AMAZON

SISIGAD Hoverboard

Sisigad Hoverboard Self Balancing Scooter- best gifts for kids

Our Back To The Future dreams are starting to come true! This light-up LED hoverboard comes with a built-in wireless speaker, too, so how far away can self-drying jackets be?

$147.99 AT AMAZON

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox- best gifts for kids

LEGO + robots = 🤯🤯🤯. This set comes with 800+ pieces that can be turned into five different robotic toys, including Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, Guitar 4000, and Auto Builder. They have sensor technology and motor capabilities, and there’s a handy step by step guide — in case your motor capabilities can’t figure out how to put ’em together.

$159.95 AT AMAZON

BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone

BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone with Controllable LED Lights- best gifts for kids

This rose gold karaoke mic is compatible with BlueTooth devices, so an iPhone, Android, iPad, etc. can all function as a speaker. Old Town Road never sounded so good. 🙄

$31.99 AT AMAZON

Osmo – Creative Kit for iPad

Osmo Creative Kit for iPad

OK, imagine drawing a monster or something…and then animating it! That’s what kids can do with Osmo’s creative kit. Osmo is known for its line of STEM activities for kids at different levels of development, and this is one of the most fun ones in the whole collection.

$149.95 AT AMAZON

Clothes, Accessories & Home Decor

Star Wars Chewbacca Mittens

Star Wars Chewbacca Mittens for Kids- best gifts for kids

Well, Wookie what we have here! Warm, fuzzy, Chewbacca-themed mittens that look great, and keep their hands toasty — even on a trip to Hoth. [Insert Chewie roar]

$12.95 AT AMAZON

Star Wars BB-8 Reversible Beanie Hat for Kids

Star Wars BB-8 Reversible Beanie Hat for Kids- best gifts for kids

This BB-8 beanie will keep your kiddo warm, while looking cool. Poe and Rey’s little droid buddy has the perfect shape to fit on any kid’s head, and the hat is reversible so when it (inevitably) gets stained, you can just reverse it to look good as new.

$14.95 AT AMAZON

Orolay Child Hooded Down Coat

Orolay Children Hooded Down Puffer Coat- best gifts for kids

OK, maybe clothing isn’t at the top of your kid’s list, but this coat should be. These super-warm down-filled jackets are made of windproof and water-resistant fabric and feature a warm fleece-lined hood. Perfect for sledding, snow angels, skiing, or any other winter fun they’re into.

$129.99 AT AMAZON

Cinema Light Box with Letters

Cinema Light Box With Letters- best gifts for kids

This vintage-cinema-style lightbox is a great way to let your kid decorate their space in a unique, personal way. Comes with 192 letters, numbers, symbols, and 35 popular emojis. Maybe just be prepared for at least one version that says STAY OUT DAD ☠️.

$21.99 AT AMAZON

Books

D Is For Dad: An ABC Book For Kids…And Dads

D-is-For-Dad-An-ABC-Book-For-Kids...And-Dads

THIS is the ABC he wants to read to the kids. C is for Cargo Shorts, F is for Finger Pulling, and O is for Oil checks. You may like it even more than they do.

$18.00 AT AMAZON

Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids

Laugh Out Loud Jokes For Kids- best gifts for kids

Let’s be honest, if they want to hear a joke, they should just come to the master. But if they’ve heard all of your gems about a million times, this book has a few alternatives — like 120+ pages of jokes that are appropriate for kids of all ages. It’s sold over three million copies so they must be almost as funny as all of yours.

4.99 AT AMAZON

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

OK, let’s end on a tearjerker. This classic children’s book belongs in every kid’s library, because it encourages them to be bold, yet kind, and nurture even the smallest things in life. It’s a loving read you can enjoy together, but it might get dust in your eyes or make your allergies act up.

10.29 AT AMAZON

Good Samaritan Jumps Into Bay To Save Baby Ejected from Car After Bridge Crash

Man Saves Baby is Bay
(Twitter/TODAYShow)

The “hero” label is thrown around very casually in the social media era, but in this case, you can’t say it enough. A tragic car accident on a bridge in Maryland left a car dangling over the guardrail, and an infant, still stuck in a car seat, was ejected from the car and into the water below.

That’s when a bystander JUMPED THE GUARDRAIL to dive into the Bay and RESCUED THE BABY. That sounds like superhero movie stuff right there. A man literally LEAPT OFF A BRIDGE AND SAVED A BABY’S LIFE. It’s astounding that they both survived the episode, but it’s heroism in its purest form.

The Ocean City Police Department shared the first report on its Facebook page, and it was widely covered by the media. The infant was flown to the hospital, and the rescuer was in a good deal of shock himself, according to boaters who pulled them both out of the water. He’s chosen to remain anonymous.

The man’s 30-foot dive into the water wasn’t the only heroic act, as a 14-year-old girl on a boat with her dad spotted the accident and directed him to investigate. The duo found the man treading water with the baby and pulled them both from the water.

The 14-year-old, Alayna, said the rescuer didn’t say anything because he was in such shock. Her dad echoed his daughter’s statement, adding “it says a lot about some people’s demeanor, just doing the right thing when you got to do it.”

The dad also said he was proud of Alayna and her instincts to help during the incident.

“You’re taught through your life as a child and as you’re growing up, to respect and help others when needed, keeping your head on a swivel, you know, always looking around,” he said, “it’s those little things in life that teach you. You see your 14-year old daughter going through this and just say ‘wow, she’s learned and understood what has to happen in this world.”

The infant suffered some injuries but was stable, and the family agreed to keep the man’s identity anonymous. The police department is still investigating the accident, but one thing is clear, there was some major heroism on display and some pure magic that no lives were lost in such a dangerous situation.

YouTubers Theorize Disney+ Could Reset the Star Wars Movies

Dave Filoni and Pedro Pascal Discuss Upcoming Mandalorian Season
(Getty / Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer)

Recently, Pedro Pascal gave an interview in which he discussed plans for the third season of The Mandalorian. Like most Star Wars properties, future plans for the series are being kept under wraps, and the info that Pascal dropped was vague and incomplete. The hints dropped were interesting nonetheless, especially if they relate to a particular idea that has been floating around since the summer.

Pascal mentioned the possibility of “unexpected surprises and timelines” and the potential of characters to “cross over.” On one level, this sounds like the next logical step in Disney+’s plan, having announced a whole collection of Star Wars shows into which The Mandalorian and friends could potentially crossover. Or else he was referring to something far more drastic: an alternate Star Wars timeline, in which the last two movies never happened.

The theory is that The Mandalorian could take a page from Star Wars: Rebels, one of the animated shows Mando mastermind Dave Filoni managed. On that show, they introduced a concept called “world between worlds” which allows for characters to travel between timelines via a mythical dimension called “the Veil of the Force.”

If you watched the Star Wars LEGO Holiday special, in which Rey and other beloved characters bounce into and our of the new movies, the OT, and the prequels, then you get the idea.

Months ago the YouTube channel known as “Overlord DVD” suggested that due to the negative reaction to Rise of Skywalker, Disney is scrambling to course-correct. [Editor’s Note: There is no reason to believe Overlord DVD has any insight into Lucasfilm or Disney creative discussions]

The idea is that they could be looking to do something drastic by erasing the events of the sequel trilogy by porting it into an alternate reality. Sort of like how JJ Abrams’ new Star Trek reboot reinvented familiar characters by splitting them into their own timeline and tweaking their histories. Could that kind of game-changing move be what Pascal was referring to?

It sounds far-fetched, and it probably is, but The Mandalorian has already featured and name-dropped several characters from Star Wars: Rebels, which makes the potential of borrowing some story points less unlikely. But relegating three major blockbusters into the sidebin of canon would be a huge disruption. Despite the cartoons and the success of The Mandalorian, the movies are still the Big Show for most Star Wars fans.

There’s a lot more to this potentially insane theory, which you can read about in an article in Deseret News.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Releasing on Nintendo Switch This June

Pro Skater Switch Release Date
(Activision/Vicarious Visions)

We finally have a release date!

After teasing fans back in March, it was officially announced today that the excellent Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 remake will release for Nintendo Switch on June 25th, 2021.

If you’ve been holding off on purchasing this remake, it’s definitely worth every penny.  Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 were already great games, but with updated graphics, quality of life improvements like reverts implemented along with online play, this is the must-own definitive version.  Also, the soundtrack still slaps to this day.

I already own the PS4 version and this might sound crazy, but I think I’m gonna have to double-dip.  The thought of being able to score million point tricks or spelling out S-K-A-T-E while laying in my bed sounds too good to be true.  Portability is a beautiful feature and my aging dad bod really appreciates these Nintendo Switch releases.

Steve Harvey Can’t Dislike Daughter’s Boyfriend Because He’s Michael B. Jordan

Steve Harvey Michael B Jordan
(Instagram/iamsteveharvey//MichaelBJordan)

It’s a tale as old as time: dad beefing with their daughter’s boyfriend. It’s a little trite, but old-school dads can still fall into those patterns. Plus, messing with your kids is one of life’s great joys. And however flawed they may be, they come from a good place of wanting your kid to be happy. Steve Harvey is one of those dads, and he’s tried to hate on his daughter’s new boyfriend. But he can’t because that boyfriend is MICHAEL B. JORDAN.

The comedian/game show host’s youngest daughter Lori is dating the terrific actor from “Creed”, “Black Panther” and a million other great things. The two have been dating for several months, and Harvey has finally met his match as an overprotective dad.

“You know what, I have tried not to like him,” he said on Ellen. He followed that by praising him soundly. The “Family Feud” star is exposed to just about every variation of complaint and annoyance people have conjured for years in survey answers, and he’s still coming up blank when he tries to think of something bad about Jordan.

And he’s not had this problem before. On Kimmel, he said he had plenty of success ousting past boyfriends, saying “I done get rid of all of them. All of them…Some of them just snuck in the back door on me and lasted a lot longer than I wanted it to,” he added. We’ll just leave it there and move on without comment.

“But this guy is such a good guy, man,” Harvey said of Jordan. “He is one of the nicest guys. I met his father. I’ve sat up with him, talking for hours.

“I just can’t find nothing wrong with him. I’m hoping to.”

Good luck, Steve! But also, Michael B. Jordan seems like a good dude and also your daughter is literally 24 years old so it’s probably time to stop that behavior. Hopefully, he’s joking a little bit, seeing as a daughter isn’t property.

Survey says: she’s a grown-up and doesn’t need you to tank her relationships forever!

Prince’s Legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Guitar Solo Gets Director’s Cut

Prince Rock and Roll HOF Performance
(YouTube/JAGtenthplanet)

Way back in 2004, I happened to be flipping channels when I stumbled across the rebroadcast of that year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony on (I think) VH1. This was back before streaming, and even before YouTube existed and offered access to every memorable moment that had ever been filmed. Suffice to say, I got really lucky to stumble across it.

The line-up that year included George Harrison, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, and Prince, all of whom were honored earlier in the program and most of whom were on stage for the show’s closing all-star jam which featured all the inductees (with Dhani Harrison standing in for his late father) performing Harrison’s classic Beatles’ track, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It’s been nearly 20 years and I have never stopped talking about this performance, for one reason.

About halfway through the song (at the 3:29 mark), which is basically front-lined by Petty with support from Winwood and Lynne, Prince septs out of the shadows and absolutely takes over, lighting the ceremony on fire with one of the greatest, if not the absolute best, guitar solos of all time.

Anyone who has listened to Prince knows he’s an incredibly talented artist, but if you only know the hits or heard him on the radio or MTV, you might not understand how proficient a musician he is, especially at guitar. At his concerts, he regularly tears up covers of classic rock songs by the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and more, and this performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame puts his full powers on display.

No description can do his performance justice. Every time you think the solo has peaked, he unleashes a new riff and takes it up a notch, clearly having a blast the entire time. It wasn’t on YouTube at the start, but it is now, and it has over 100 million views, and it’s about to have even more when I finish this and go watch it again.

Now, the director of the ceremony, Joel Gladden, has re-cut the footage to focus even more on Prince during his solo, including more close-ups as the purple one blows the audience’s – and Tom Petty’s, and especially Dhani Harrison’s (just look at the awe on the kid’s face as Prince goes off) – minds. Gladden explains his intentions in an article about the footage in the Los Angeles Times.

Is this version of the footage better? Maybe, maybe not. But it hardly matters because the solo remains the same, and the solo is simply incredible. Watch the director’s cut below, then go back and watch the original footage that I watched all those years ago, and then just go back and forth and watch the solo over and over, as I’ve been doing for some 15 years.

And if you can tell me where the hell his guitar goes at the end, when he simply throws it up into the air. It never comes down!

Watch below:

Someone Has Made a Mod That Puts Barney Into the Resident Evil Village Demo

resident-evil-8-barney-mod
(Youtube/Marcos RC)

The Resident Evil franchise is famously known for it’s zombies, ridiculous storylines, creepy settings, and unsettling monstrosities.  Now, we can add purple dinosaurs to that list.

Last weekend, players had the chance to try out the upcoming eighth installment in the series ‘Resident Evil Village’ via a limited-time demo.  The demo was only available for 24 hours and once you started playing, you only had 60 minutes to explore and complete it.  Not one to let that short amount of time go to waste, modder Marcos RC managed to put Barney the Dinosaur into the game.  This isn’t the first time Marcos has modded a Resident Evil title, but I feel like it’s the best one yet.

The mod is pretty hilarious, but it doesn’t quite pack the same punch without Barney’s actual voice.  This needs to be rectified immediately.  Imagine Barney shuffling towards you saying things like “Super Dee-Duper!” or hearing him hum the Barney theme song to himself while standing in a dark corridor.  The thought alone sends shivers down my spine.

If you were one of the many (including myself) that missed out on trying the demo, developer Capcom ended up changing their mind.  They lifted the restrictions and made the demo accessible for everyone from now until the game officially releases on May 7th.  Will you be picking it up?

Disney Imagineers Branch Out and Build Robotic Baby Groot

Disney Imagineers build dancing robotic baby Groot
(YouTube/Walt Disney Imagineering)

I couldn’t tell you the plot to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I vividly remember almost every second of Baby Groot’s flawless dance to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” Groot is a creature of few words, repeating his catchphrase “I am Groot” in varying tones to convey whatever it is he’s trying to say. But like Chewbacca, Wall-E, and most other nonverbal characters, Groot makes up for his nonexistent vocabulary in wildly creative ways.

Whether you’re a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy or not, it’s impossible to deny just how freaking cute the sentient tree creature is. To celebrate baby Groot in all his shimmying glory, the Walt Disney Imagineers spent several years bringing him to life.

The Imagineers are the geniuses behind Disney theme parks, cruise ships, attractions, essentially everything at the crossroads between creativity and technology. Their extensive experience and ingenuity made their Disney branch the perfect one to take on project Groot – and fir real, they crushed it.

To celebrate the fruits of their labor, the Imagineers shared a video of their creative process on YouTube. In 2018, the team began work on Groot’s little legs. Once those were up and running, the team added the trunk of Groot’s body before letting him roam free around the office for a while.

“Using custom authoring tools that combine whole-body motion planning and traditional character animation, artists can quickly bring robotic characters to life with expressive motions and interactive behaviors,” Walt Disney Imagineering captioned their video. “There are no immediate plans for use in Disney theme parks; however, a prototype in the form of Groot is being used to test unique traits, gaits and capabilities.”

Robo-Groot had a few missteps, likely far more than the single tumble included in the video. But by 2020, the team was confident enough in their baby Robot to give him the full Groot, resting birch face and all.

Meet Linda Owens, The Woman Who Has Fostered Over 80 Infants Throughout 34 Years

78-year-old fosters over 80 infants in 34 years
(YouTube/KPIX CBS SF Bay Area)

Taking on the role of a foster parent is a monumental responsibility, one that requires a lot of patience and an enormous heart. Foster parents fulfill all of the daily responsibilities of a parent, in addition to the emotional toll of giving yourself fully to a little one knowing that it’s only temporary. Sadly, nearly half of the infants who enter the foster care system have faced neglect, and more than half come from homes with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol. Transferring unhoused infants into loving foster homes is of the utmost importance, and nobody understands the vital nature of a good foster parent quite like Linda Owens.

Linda Owens is a 78-year-old retired grocery store manager living in Hayward, California. Rather than retire to a life of leisure, Owens decided to change the world for the better. Throughout the past 34 years, the single mom has fostered 81 infants – sometimes two at a time.

Anyone who has raised their own infant knows just how exhausting it can be. We give ourselves pep talks, remembering that one day they’ll sleep through the night, eventually they’ll become more independent. But for Linda Owens, her time as a foster mom comes to an end before her babies can feed themselves, use the toilet, or even tell her how much they love and appreciate her.

The babies who are fortunate enough to end up in Owens’s expert hands often require more care than the average infant, some even going through drug withdrawal after exposure in the womb. Owens, however, is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to help.

“It’s a challenging job, but very rewarding,” Owens told KPIX. “This is what God’s handed me a gift to do.”

Owens’s 34 years as a foster mom means that many of her foster babies are now fully grown adults, the oldest now being 37 years old. But Owens has a special place in her heart for each and every baby that has passed through her door, and to this day, she remembers every single one. Some adoptive families have even kept in contact with Owens over the years, sharing their children’s milestones with the woman who helped complete their families.

CBS affiliate KPIX recently honored Owens with a Jefferson Award in recognition of her life-changing efforts, the same month Owens took in her 81st foster baby. Saying goodbye to an infant you’ve poured so much love into raising seems impossible. But for Owens, it’s a sign that she did her job, and did it well.

Of the baby girl Owens is currently fostering she says, “I can give her a kiss on the forehead and wish her the best, and say, ‘I love you.’”

The Top 10 Star Wars Games of All Time as Voted by ‘The Dad Gaming’ Community

Top 10 Star Wars Video Games
(Electronic Arts)

That’s right my young padawans, it’s Star Wars Day!

No matter how you got hooked on the franchise, there’s no denying the impact it has had on the world.  Star Wars is everywhere.  To help celebrate, I held a poll recently in ‘The Dad Gaming‘ Facebook group to see what everyone’s favorite Star Wars games of all time were.  Just like the best Mario games poll I held back in March for Mar10 Day, it’s clear this community knows their stuff.  Every game on this list is great and is a trip down memory lane for me.  I played a lot of these when I was a kid, and now I just want to bust out the old consoles and start playing them again.

However, in this case, there can be only one Star Wars game that takes the top spot today, so *in my best Yoda voice* to this list, we must get.

10. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron – December 3rd, 1998

Star-Wars-Rogue-Squadron-N64
(LucasArts)

First up is Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.  This game put you in the pilot seat of 5 different iconic Star Wars vehicles as you made your way across 16 missions to save the galaxy.  The game’s story takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, but it was really just a solid action game.  What kept bringing me back were the medals you could get from each mission.  Based on how well you did, you could unlock bonus content like secret levels including ‘The Death Star Trench Run’ or being able to fly the Millennium Falcon.

9. Star Wars Galaxies – June 26th, 2003

Star-Wars-Galaxies-StarterKit
(LucasArts)

Star Wars Galaxies was an MMORPG in the same vein as World of Warcraft or Everquest.  Featuring 10 different races (like Wookie or Twi’lek) and 9 different professions such as Jedi, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, Commando, Spy, Officer, Medic, Entertainer and Trader to choose from, this game had a wealth of content for fans to play through.  It would become so popular, that three expansions would be released for it after its initial launch, including one that allowed you to pilot your own ship.  Unfortunately, Star Wars Galaxies would end up shutting its servers down 8 years later to make way for the new Star Wars MMORPG ‘The Old Republic’.

8. Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter – April 29th, 1997

star-wars-x-wing-vs-tie-fighter
(LucasArts)

Unlike Rogue Squadron, Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter was more of a flight simulator than arcade shooter.  It still featured white-knuckle space combat, but you really needed to know your opponents ship and set-up.  This game included a robust multiplayer for up to eight players with free-for-all, team-based, and cooperative play modes.  When Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter first released, it only featured multiplayer, which some fans weren’t too happy about.  LucasArts would end up releasing an expansion called ‘Balance of Power’ which added in a campaign.

This game was added to the poll by community member Shaylin Clark.

7. Star Wars: Republic Commando – February 28th, 2005

Republic Commando Cover Art
(Nintendo)

Star Wars: Republic Commando is a first-person, tactical shooter that put you in the boots of a clone trooper named “Boss”.  As Boss, you were the leader and were able to control what actions the other three NPC’s in your squad would perform.  You could order “Scorch” (demolitions expert), “Fixer” (hacker), or “Sev” (sniper) to help breach and clear rooms or take on their preferred roles to provide cover fire.  It was a pretty unique gaming experience set in the Star Wars universe, and I hope we see more like it in the future.  There was even a remaster that just recently released on Nintendo Switch & Playstation 4, so if you haven’t played this one yet, definitely give it a go.

6. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire – December 3rd, 1996

Star-Wars-Shadows-Of-The-Empire-N64-Cover-Art
(LucasArts)

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was the first N64 game I owned along with Super Mario 64.  The graphics and gameplay are pretty dated now, but the nostalgia is strong with this one.  That first level on Hoth when you had to fly the snowspeeders around the AT-AT’s to trip them with a cable seriously blew my 11-year-old mind.  It was just like the movies!  The main character Dash Rendar also really deserves the live-action treatment.  I always thought he was the coolest and his ship the ‘Outrider’ is one of my all-time favorite Star Wars vehicles.

5. Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast – March 26th, 2002

star-wars-jedi-knight-2-jedi-outcast-cover-art
(LucasArts)

Taking on the role of Kyle Katarn, you must return to your Jedi ways to stop the dark Jedi Desann from empowering their army with the Force.  While you could use blaster pistols and other ranged weapons, the big draw here was the awesome lightsaber fights.  Seriously, Jedi Outcast is considered a landmark Star Wars game for its revolutionary (at the time) lightsaber combat.  Jedi Outcast also featured a multiplayer mode that allowed players to compete in different game modes online or over a LAN connection.  Ah yes, LAN gaming.  Nothing like getting a bunch of friends together and playing on separate systems.  It was pretty great.  You can also pick this up on Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4 right now (minus the multiplayer).

This game was added to the poll by community member Junior Godoy.

4. Star Wars Battlefront 2 – November 1st, 2005

Star-Wars-Battlefront-2-Cover-Art
(LucasArts)

The original Star Wars Battlefront lets you experience iconic Star Wars battles upfront and personal on a large scale.  The sequel, Star Wars Battlefront 2 cranked that gameplay up to 11.  It featured new vehicles, characters, game mechanics, maps, and the use of Jedi and Sith.  Battlefront 2 also featured a more story-driven campaign, retelling portions of the Star Wars story from the point of view of an Imperial Stormtrooper, reminiscing about his tour of duty in both the Galactic Republic and the Galactic Empire.

3.  Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – September 16th, 2008

Star-Wars-The-Force-Unleashed-Sith-Box-Art
(LucasArts)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed put players in the role of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice.  Tasked with hunting down Jedi survivors of the Great Jedi Purge, Starkiller starts to question his own morality and wishes to redeem himself.  The gameplay featured plenty of lightsaber and force powers, along with the ability to sneak around and stealth attack.  One of the cool features with this one is enemies learn from the player’s character’s attacks.  Using the same attack on different enemies would sometimes lead to you doing less damage.  You really had to switch up your play style with this one.

I’m still a fan of the name Starkiller.  I tried to name each of my three kids Starkiller, but my wife shot the idea down every time.  Maybe I’ll have to legally change my name to Starkiller instead.

2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – November 15th, 2019

Star-Wars-Jedi-Fallen-Order
(Electronic Arts)

Developed by Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall, Apex Legends) Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was able to combine Dark Souls-style gameplay and exploration with the Star Wars mythos to create a tough and satisfying gaming experience.  The voice acting was top-notch, the lightsaber combat and force powers felt awesome, and Fallen Order featured some truly epic story moments.  This one is also getting a PS5 and Xbox Series X/S next-gen upgrade.  If you own a copy and one of the new systems and want to try it out with updated graphics, you’ll have your chance this summer.

1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – July 15th, 2003

Star Wars: KOTOR
(LucasArts)

We have reached the #1 spot and I’m not kidding when I say that this game earned it by a long shot.  It nearly earned triple the number of votes that Fallen Order did.  What can I say, the fans love this one.  Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic featured turn-based combat with a morality system.  How you treated others would either put you on the Light or Dark Side of the Force.  With rumors of a remake currently in the works, the legacy of this game will continue to live on for years to come.

So, there you have it.  These are all great choices if you’re looking to dive into the world of Star Wars video games, but we wouldn’t have these if George Lucas hadn’t created it.  That’s something I’m thankful for.  I’m sure we can all remember the first time we watched a Star Wars film.  I was 10 at the time and my parents bought me the 1995 VHS box set of the original trilogy.  The films blew my mind and from that day forward, I was a big fan.  Growing up with Star Wars was such a cool experience too because I got to relive those moments again watching them with my kids.

Happy Star Wars Day and may the 4th be with you!

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Star-Wars-Ewoks-Dancing-Gif
(Pinterest/Cleverson Rodriguez)