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

Insanely Brutal Stat Correction Costs Fantasy Football Player $1 Million

Stat Correction Costs Player a Million
(Getty/Joe Scarnici Twitter/ActionNetworkHQ)

The NFL isn’t the most fun sport to watch, but it is one of the most fun to follow, and we have gambling to thank for that. Fantasy Football started as a cottage industry and is BOOMING now, and has been a boost to the sport’s bottom line for years. So much to the point that players now hate getting bothered on social media about their fantasy football output. And with most states approving online sports gambling, daily games have made the NFL even more appealing.

But with the rise of games like that, you see some truly heart-breaking, crushing bad beats, and boy did Monday Night Football include perhaps the worst in sports and gambling history. A DraftKings player had participated in a contest with a lineup that included, among others, Jared Goff and the Chicago Bears defense.

At the end of the game, it appeared that player had won the contest and won the $1 million prize that goes with it. As epic of a fantasy football win as you can have in a lifetime. And then…the dreaded, brutal stat correction.

First, stat corrections are the bane of fantasy football. Like an ump that makes a mistake, they should be left untouched, allowing for a smidge of human error to influence our games, for worse or in this case for much, much better.

The way it played out was a sack previously credited to the Bears defense was taken away, and instead turned into a negative rushing attempt for Goff, so it slightly hurt both players. And it hurt the fantasy football player the most, taking his $1 million prize away, and moving him to sixth place, for a paltry $3,000 winnings.


When it comes to fantasy football, you will not find a crueler break than that. No pain, no game, or something like that, sure. But dang, dude, that is a hard way to lose a million dollars.

15 Crazy Facts You Don’t Know About Rick Moranis

15 Crazy Facts About Rick Moranis
(Columbia Pictures)

You thought you knew Rick Moranis? Sorry to break it to you pal, but you don’t.

In fact, here are 15 facts you probably didn’t know about him. Facts so good you could impress other dads at daycare pickup by slipping one of these bad boys into casual conversation. (“Oh, your kid likes teddy bears? Reminds me of when Rick Moranis voiced Mr. Cuddles the Teddy Bear in 2003 animated film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys.”)

So many facts that next time you get in a Rick Moranis Facts-Off with your annoying neighbor who’s always trying to one-up you, you’ll be laying down cold hard Rickies (street slang for Rick Moranis facts) and ending with a mic drop.

Get a load of these Rickies. Take them in. Your prep for the next neighborhood Rick Moranis Facts-Off starts here. Godspeed.

1. Rick took a hiatus from acting, but he never really left.

There were rumors that work for Rick dried up and that’s why we hadn’t seen him on the big screen for a while, but c’mon, you know Rick better than this. He’s insanely talented and kept getting offers for roles left and right over the years, but Rick stayed home to be a single dad after his wife passed away from breast cancer.

In a Hollywood Reporter interview, Rick says he never really retired from the industry — he was just picky.

Although we didn’t see him on the screen for a while, Rick was always there. From 2001 to 2006, he voiced characters for three animated films and made a voice appearance in The Goldbergs to reprise his role from Space Balls, Dark Helmet.

2. His decision to be a stay-at-home dad wasn’t a tough one.

In an interview with Uproxx, Rick explains shifting his focus to his kids in a matter-of-fact, “duh, of course, my kids are the most important thing”-kind of way.

“Stuff happens to people everyday, and they make adjustments to their lives for all kinds of reasons. There was nothing unusual about what happened or what I did, I think the reason that people were intrigued by the decisions I was making and sometimes seem to have almost admiration for it had less to do with the fact that I was doing what I was doing and more to do with what they thought I was walking away from, as if what I was walking away from had far greater value than anything else that one might have.”

Other people might bat a few eyes at walking away from rising movie star fame, but not Rick.

When asked about walking away from a career in which he got to use his creativity every day, Rick said, “I didn’t walk away from that. I applied all of my creativity to my home life, to my kids, to my family. I was the same person. I didn’t change. I just shifted my focus.”

We love this guy and his attitude. We could all stand to be a little more like Rick.

3. He’s been confirmed for a “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” Reboot.

a still from Honey I Shrunk the Kids
(Walt Disney)

If you’ve been keeping up at The Dad then you already knew this one, and if you haven’t been keeping up with The Dad, why not? Well, good news: Rick is definitely on board for a reboot of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” Honey, I’ve been overtaken by nostalgia. Honey, I’ve busted a tear from my left eye. Honey, he’s back.

Rick starred as Wayne Szalinski, an inventor dad who committed the biggest “oh sh*t” of our time by shrinking his kids with an experimental ray gun. At some point he accidentally sweeps up his tiny kids in a dustpan and throws them in the trash, but like, who among us?

The reboot, called Shrunk, will focus on Wayne’s son, who’s now grown. Apparently the “accidentally shrinking your own kids” gene is strong in this family since Wayne’s son does the ole shrinkaroo on his own kids. We can’t wait to see what Wayne/Rick/the OG shrinker has to say about that.

4. Rick released a comedy/country album called The Agoraphobic Cowboy.

Rick Moranis Album
(Warner)

What are you doing with the rest of your day? I just cleared my calendar to listen to The Agoraphobic Cowboy on vinyl while wearing assless chaps and pondering my fear of public spaces, and I invite you to join me.

If you approached me in 2005 and said, “Guess what Rick Moranis is doing right now?” I would say, “Tell me.” And then if you said, “He’s writing a country album called The Agoraphobic Cowboy,” I would say, “Yes, I believe you. That sounds like the most Rick Moranis thing of all time.” He’s since released another comedy music album called My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs, so it looks like I’ll have to clear my calendar for tomorrow, too.

5. Seymour and his plant in Little Shop of Horrors would make a good Halloween costume for a dad and his plant-sized baby.

stills of Seymour (played by Rick Moranis) in Little Shop of Horrors
(Warner Bros)

This isn’t really a fact, just something we noticed. Do you love Rick Moranis and are you looking for an easy DIY costume for Halloween? Do you have a baby without the job, income, or wherewithal to plan its own costume? No worries. Dress like good old Seymour Krelborn, one of our favorite Rick Moranis characters. Slap on some glasses and tape leaves onto that baby. Sing him Little Shop of Horrors original music like “Grow For Me.” Pray that he doesn’t grow too large and one day overtakes you.

6. Rick breathed life into his Ghostbusters character by improvising.

There is writing a good screenplay, then there is hiring a good actor that makes that screenplay come to life in ways you couldn’t have written.

Rick improvised scenes in Ghostbusters, most notably the one in which Louis welcomes a couple to a party by airing out all their financial details to other partygoers. Apparently the whole thing was Rick’s idea and he kind of just made it up along the way.
Director Ivan Reitman explained:

“Right away, Rick had all these wonderful ideas. I think it was his idea to play him as an accountant; he wrote that extraordinary speech when he is inviting people to a party at his house and he’s walking that incoming couple through. I had the joke of throwing the coat on the dog that’s in his bedroom, but that whole wonderful speech … Rick just made all of it up as he was doing it. All these guys were so, so good at writing.”

7. There was talk of a Space Balls 2, but it didn’t pan out.

Space Balls movie poster
(MGM)

The movie’s cult following urged the question: will there be a Space Balls 2? The answer was almost yes, according to Rick:

“It wasn’t a box office hit. It was a cult video hit, and MGM wanted to do a sequel. And my idea for it was Spaceballs III: The Search for Spaceballs II…But the deal he presented me, what he wanted me to do, was not workable. It was two or three years later…It’s better if I don’t get into the particulars of it…But I was unable to make a deal, and it would have been something I wanted to do.”

Son of a. We were so close to getting another Space Balls. Maybe someday.

8. Rick improvised the Spaceballs scene where Dark Helmet plays with dolls.

You know how your kid can just pick up some dolls and create this whole fantasy world? Your kid and Rick Moranis have that in common.

Apparently, director Mel Brooks came to set with the idea for the scene one day, told Rick about it, and Rick was like, say no mo’. The king of acting/improvising strikes again.

9. Rick Moranis would rather not fly.

Rick Moranis in Space Balls
(Tenor)

Celebrities: they hate flying just like us! It’s not that he’s afraid of flying — Rick Moranis isn’t afraid of anything. He just hates the grossness of being stuck on a plane in a germ stew with a hundred other strangers and the inefficiency of it all.

“We started to hear the stories of people stuck on the tarmac for six hours,” Rick told Heeb Magazine. “If that happens to me, I’ll be on the front page of the New York Post the next day. I’ll fake a heart attack or melt down. So it’s better for me to stay away from airports.”

If he can drive there, he will. Say, Rick, I hate flying too, wanna road trip together?

10. Rick has dated here and there over the years.


Can you imagine going on a date with Rick Moranis? Apparently, Rick’s been putting himself out there a bit, just not on dating apps: “What picture would I use? The guy from Ghostbusters? I don’t think dating sites work for people with famous punims.”

Rick told Heeb Magazine he’d probably travel more if he had a lady companion, but hear me out, Rick. You don’t need a lady to travel with you. What about a dude’s trip? I know at least 10 dads who would love to go on a road trip with you (no airplanes, promise).

11. Rick is Jewish but non-practicing.

Rick Moranis
(Warner)

If you hadn’t guessed already, that’s what his comedy album My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs is all about. Funny, lively, delightfully Jewish — it’s basically a musical manifestation of Rick.

Rick described the album:

“When I first began writing jokes and sketches with various Jewish partners one of us would inevitably stop at some point and announce, ‘Too Jewish!’ Too Jewish for the star, the show, the network, or the audience. The songs on this album are all in that category.”

If you want to wax poetic/comedic about silver Yiddish cups, a challah, and a very Jewish mother serving up some brisket, then take this one for a spin.

12. Rick’s kids didn’t care that he was famous.

Who, that guy? The guy who changed our diapers? He’s alright, I guess.

Rick told Uproxx:

“My earliest memories were of being in public situations where people would get all excited because they were seeing a famous person, and my kids were just like, ‘Why are you so excited? It’s just him.’ They had a really good perspective on celebrity and fame very early on.”

But it sounds like his kids had a sort of indifference to celebrities and fame in general. About the time his five-year-old son saw Derek Jeter at a Knicks game:

“Derek Jeter turned around, recognized me, got kind of like, ‘Oh hi! Hi!’ And my son said, ‘Have you met Chuck Knoblauch yet?’ And Jeter looked at him like, ‘Who is this kid.’ But that was my son. He was comfortable around anyone, and I think the reason was, is because he just didn’t buy why anyone would get excited around me.”

I hope if I ever run into Rick Moranis, I play it as cool as his kids.

13. He “isn’t saying no” to performing his music live.

In an interview with Heeb Magazine, Rick said:

“I’m intrigued by the idea of playing this music live. I’ve never done that. To do a stage performance in a theater with this music, it might be enjoyable. I have no idea. I’ll see what happens. I’m not saying no to anything at this point, including all of the above.”

If we all start working on our Rick Moranis movie character cosplays now, we can be ready by the time you, me, and every dad we know turn up for the Rick Moranis live music function.

14. Rick was fired from The Breakfast Club.

a still from The Breakfast Club
(Universal)

First of all, director John Hughes, how could you. And second: guess the reason he was fired. You can’t.

Did you guess because he played the role of Carl the Janitor with a too-over-the-top Russian accent? Damn, how’d you guess that?

I’m now commencing my boycott of any The Breakfast Club rewatches and I invite you to join me. Rick Moranis belongs in any movie, in any role, even as a gimmicky Russian janitor, and it’s a cardinal sin to think otherwise. If I watch it now, all I’ll be able to think about is how much better it would’ve been with Rick Moranis.

15. His daughter is an architect and his son works in entertainment.

Talk about doing some hella fathering. Rick fathered these kids so good that they’re both doing super impressive things. Rachel, now 32, has multiple degrees in architecture, attended Harvard for grad school, and has co-founded multiple companies. Mitchell, also 32, has busied himself with all things entertainment biz: acting, screenwriting, producing, songwriting, you name it.

Looks like Rick stepping back from Hollywood to take care of his family paid off after all. We love you, Rick. Probably more than your own kids do. Okay, fine, it’s not a competition.

These crazy facts are a part of our dad trivia series, where we drop some pop-culture science you can impress your dad pals with at the next BBQ.

Check out our previous edition where we featured crazy Facts You Don’t Know About Gary Sinise.

Father Figures: Endless Love

“This is me and my dad. His face describes him perfectly; fun-loving, goofy, and the best dad in the world.

When I was four, he and my mom got married after she and my biological father divorced. Ever since, he has been the best dad I could’ve asked for.

He never misses a dance, ceremony, or sports game and he’s always there for me when I need him. He and my mom just went through a divorce, yet he continues to show me endless love just like a father should.

He may not be my dad by blood, but no one could ever replace the bond that we share.”

– Katelyn Winstead

Farm Help Kids With Disabilities Connect With Abandoned Animals

Rescue in Austin Texas
(Instagram/safeinaustinrescue)

During life’s highs and lows, animals are a constant source of unconditional love. They don’t care who you are, what you look like, or whether or not you got that promotion – as long as you feed them and give them some daily ear scritches, you’re loved for life. The Safe in Austin Animal Rescue is taking advantage of the healing power of animals, creating a space where both their furry rescues and kids with their own struggles can learn and grow.

Most of the animals at the Texas rescue have experienced some degree of abuse or neglect, and as a result, need to re-learn to trust people. Once the rescued animals are healthy and deemed safe enough to be around kids, they take on an extremely special role within the rescue.

The rescue’s website explains, “we introduce our rescues to children that come from similar backgrounds of abuse, neglect, and/or special needs. Our animals provide healing to trauma, at-risk, and/or special needs children by way of unconditional friendship and a clear, loving, example of what they are looking for most… hope.”

Though this life-changing rescue now helps countless children bond with animals, it all started with one. His name was Angel, and he was an Autism Service Dog. One of the farm’s owners, Jamie Wallace-Griner, was in awe of just how much Angel helped her son overcome fear and anxiety simply by providing a constant source of love and support. Now, the farm has helped many other kids cope with whatever it is they’re working to overcome – and the animals couldn’t be happier to be part of the process.

The rescue aims to reduce barriers to entry for kids would greatly benefit from this unique therapeutic environment. “Healing can be hard and scary, but animals can show us the way! We know that not everyone can afford expensive therapy sessions and high priced programs. Our goal is to offer a place of healing and happiness that is available to everyone.”

 

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We are three years old, guys! 🎉🎈🎊🎈🍾 Well, three years ago today I posted this video in reaction to getting our official 501c3 nonprofit status in the mail! Those were the “Hurricane Harvey” puppies we took in! And look at the property!! 👀😱👀 No pastures at at. No fencing. No pond. No buildings. No garden. No horses. We have come such a long way in just three years! We have saved so many lives and most importantly been a part of healing So Many hearts! All because of that precious white dog bringing up the rear! That’s not Gabe, that’s Angel! And oh my goodness she must be so proud looking down from heaven at her legacy! ❤️ Congratulations rescue family! We did it together….. and we are not stopping now! 🥰 Saving lives and healing hearts, Rescue animals rescuing children! All because of a boy….and his Angel! ❤️🐾 Read our story- www.safeinaustin.org

A post shared by Safe In Austin Rescue Ranch (@safeinaustinrescue) on

The farm used to be funded entirely by the owners, but Safe in Austin is now a registered nonprofit. There’s a $25 contribution that families can make when they visit, but nobody is turned away from this unique farm simply because they can’t pay.

The farm has had such an enormous impact on the lives of struggling kids that many have even returned as volunteers. The incredible rescue reminds both animals and humans how good it is to feel accepted and loved. There’s no judgment, no stigma, nobody trying to write your story – Safe in Austin truly lives up to its name.

The Rock Posts Throwback Photo in Dad’s Wrestling Gear, “Thank God for Puberty”

The Rock shares photo dressed in dad's wrestling gear
(Instagram/therock)

Kids get a kick out of imitating their parents. Whether it’s relentlessly parroting everything they hear or dressing up in their dad’s uniform 5 minutes before he’s supposed to leave for work, kids are tiny mirrors (for better or for worse). Recently, our favorite wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson shared an adorable throwback photo of himself at 11 years old, dressed up in his late dad’s wrestling gear.

It’s not uncommon for kids to dream of doing what their parents do, given that it’s what they’ve grown up seeing every single day. What is uncommon is for the child of a pro wrestler to actually freaking become a pro wrestler. It’s not the type of gig you can get through nepotism – if you become a pro wrestler through the connections you have rather than your skill, you will straight up die in the ring. Fortunately, The Rock grew from a tiny pebble to the absolute tank of a human being we know and love.

Rocky Johnson, the “Original Rock,” passed away this year at age 75. Rocky was a legend and a trailblazer in the world of pro wrestling, becoming the first black Georgia Heavyweight Champion. In 1983, he won the World Tag Team Championship making Rocky Johnson and his partner Tony Atlas the WWE’s first ever black champions. Those were no small shoes to fill, but Dwayne Johnson got it done.

The Rock honored his late dad in the throwback photo he shared on Instagram, reminiscing about the days he used to dream of following in his incredible dad’s footsteps.

The caption read, “A lil’ throwback action to 1983, when I was 11 years old – I used to LOVE putting on my dad’s wrestling trunks, boots, jacket and championship belts – dreaming of one day becoming a pro wrestling champion.”

Joking about his not-yet-ripped bod he added, “Only thing I forgot to wear was my training bra!! C’mon afro tits, you’re gonna be late for school!”

It’s no secret that Dwayne Johnson is a family man, so losing his dad earlier this year was an especially big blow. Johnson posted a beautiful tribute to his own personal hero, and continues to keep his memory alive.

“I love you,” Johnson captioned the video. “You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar.”

 

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I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world. I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deeply complicated sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons. Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side. But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back. Im in pain. But we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass. Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish. Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman. Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease. You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high. #ripsoulman #rockyjohnson 🐐

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The full caption is well worth a read, but ultimately, The Rock’s Instagram posts paint a picture of a boy who loved his dad. He admired him, looked up to him, and love him with all his heart. Looking back at the photo of The Rock as a small boy, we see a kid who wanted to be just like his dad – as so many do. And even though Rocky Johnson is no longer here, Dwayne is carrying on his legacy. And undoubtedly, Rocky Johnson was one proud dad.

Ghostbusters Sneakers Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts

Ghostbusters Shoes by Reebok
(Reebox)

I’m no sneakerhead. I’ve never owned a pair of Air Jordans, I never even owned any Reebok pumps. The one pair of sneakers I own are generic dad New Balance running shoes, and they’ve been stuck at my office gym locker since March when my office closed down.

But I am a movie fan, and a Halloween fan, and a Ghostbusters fan. So when I heard that Reebok was releasing not one but two special Ghostbusters-themed sneakers just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, my ears perked up.

And then I saw them. And my ears perked down a little bit. But hey, they’re collector’s items.

First up are the Ghost Smashers, described by Reebok thusly:

“Show ghosts who is boss. These men’s Ghost Smashers shoes have a fearless design inspired by the Ghostbusters movie from the ’80s. The leather upper has a worn, weathered look as if you’ve gone into battle. Signature details from the film give them a legit look.”

They are… interesting. There’s some weird proton-pack deal on the back, complete with neon-looking tubes. These aren’t your Daddy’s sneakers unless your daddy is Ray Parker Jr.! And if he is, I hope he didn’t give all his money to Huey Lewis, because these kicks will cost him $150.

Ghostbusters Shoes Proton Pack
(Reebok)

The second pair, also being released on Halloween Day (that’s October 31st, FYI), are “Ghostbusters Classic Leather Shoes,” selling for $100. They are a bit more normal looking.

The official description: “Strap on your proton pack. Or, you know, just lace up these Ghostbusters shoes. It’s time to celebrate Sony’s original Ghostbusters movie. The design includes several tributes to the series, from the logo on the tongue to the slime graphic on the outsole. The shoes are made of smooth leather, with a durable rubber outsole.”

Ghostbusters Tan Suit Shoes
(Reebok)

Both sneakers have the awesome Ghostbusters logo on the tongue, which, frankly, is all I really need.

Who ya gonna call to get these sneakers? Reebok’s Website.

Saved by the Bell Reboot Trailer: It’s 2020 so This Show Could Actually be Good

Saved By The Bell Trailer
(YouTube/ONE Media)

A lot of things have happened this past year that are simply unprecedented. From the global pandemic to murder hornets to water on the moon to Tiger King, 2020 has been full of unpredictability, but perhaps nothing has caught me more off guard than this:

Saved by the Bell is being rebooted, and it looks sort of… good?

Look, the bar is low. The original Saved By the Bell, which I watched religiously on Saturday mornings and after school, was a trainwreck of a show. The acting was bad, the humor was unbearably cheesy, and the entire thing was amateurish on every single level. The cast pretty much all went on to success of some kind, barring Dustin Diamond (Screech) who gained little more than notoriety for being a creep, and Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle), who basically disappeared from the public eye.

The rest of the cast, which included Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Ferris Bueller-type Zack Morris (who only recently started watching the first series), Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as cheeleader and girl-next-door Kelly Kapowski, Mario Lopez as jock A.C. Slater, and Elizabeth Berkeley as brainy feminist Jesse Spano (I hate myself for remmebering all of this), went on to successful careers of varying degrees.

Of course, they couldn’t have been too successful, because all four of them are back in the reboot!

The premise has been updated to fit modern times, with Bayside forced to welcome outsiders into its privileged confines (and Zach is now governor of California because rich white people always fail upwards!), Slater and Jesse working at the school where Zach’s son rules the roost, and the humor has been updated to maybe – possibly – have some actual laughs!

Of course, this being SBTB, there are plenty of indications that no, this will not be good, like the character of Zack’s son, who immediately looks unbearable. Also Max, the magician waiter (and owner?) of the local hangout, is back for some reason, as is the “Friends Forever” song from one of the original series’ most absurd episodes. So tread lightly!

It premieres on Peacock on November 25th:

LEGO Celebrates The Mandalorian Season 2 With Life-Size 14,000 Piece Baby Yoda

LEGO Baby Yoda Big Build
(YouTube/LEGO)

LEGO has given us a huge array of Star Wars sets over the years, ranging from simple to over-the-top elaborate. The LEGO Star Wars partnership began in 1999, but due to the massive success of the iconic collaboration, LEGO has extended the partnership with Lucasfilm multiple times. Fortunately, we get to enjoy the sweet fruits of this match made in Alderaan until at least 2022.

The people at LEGO are extremely good at keeping up with the latest trends, releasing multiple sets based on The Mandalorian in under a year since the hugely successful series’ premiere. However, the first LEGO Mandalorian set was missing one very important character – Baby Yoda.

Baby Yoda quickly became the adorable, scrunchy little face of the Disney+ series, so its absence from the set was noticeable. LEGO remedied the situation by giving Baby Yoda its very own set. Though Baby Yoda isn’t actually the younger version of the wise old Yoda we know and love, Mandalorian fans quickly took a liking to The Child – maybe because whatever species these little green guys are, they’re freaking cute.

Over 1,000 pieces to build your very own LEGO Baby Yoda is a pretty sweet tribute – but how does 14,000 LEGO bricks sound? Big, it sounds big. And it is – in fact, LEGO celebrated the release of The Mandalorian season 2 by building a life-size version of The Child (a little over 22 inches tall). If you’re going to bring another Baby Yoda into the world, it’s important to make sure the little guy’s comfortable. Aside from building The Child himself, the LEGO masters built him his very own floating pod.

“Patience you must have,” real Yoda reminded us – and we’re pretty sure he was talking about this. Three master LEGO builders put this set together as a team, and it took a whopping total of 119 hours.

LEGO posted a video of the build on YouTube, but fortunately, they condensed 119 hours down to 55 seconds. The caption read, “‘The Child’ is back in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Watch this video of our master builders creating a scale LEGO model of the galaxy’s cutest co-pilot.”

“Why did we build the cutest co-pilot in the galaxy?” LEGO’s video asked, which is truly an excellent question.

“Because this is the way!” An extremely on-brand answer that’s The Mandalorian equivalent of “because I said so.”

Regardless of the real reason, big Baby Yoda is cool as heck. Don’t forget to watch the Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian on October 30 on Disney+, and if you’re planning on attempting your very own Big Build, may the force be with you.

Disney+ Lands Oscar Isaac on Marvel’s Moon Knight Show

oscar isaac is moon knight
(Getty/Francois G. Durand Marvel)

Last year, in the aftermath of Endgame and the end of the Infinity Stones saga, Marvel Studios laid out their plans for the future of the MCU.

Aside from the various movies that are still yet to see the light of day (Black Widow, The Eternals), and Thor and Dr. Strange sequels, they announced the WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier, and Loki TV shows for Disney+. We know now that Hawkeye and Nick Fury are getting shows too, but not everyone on Disney+ will be from the movies.

Marvel also announced shows for lesser-known characters like She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, which were recently cast, and someone called Moon Knight, a fan-favorite character who is a mercenary/vigilante/consultant (?) and is also a conduit for an Egyptian god named Khonshu.

Keanu Reeves was rumored to be in the running, but it looks like the former Resistance member, Oscar Isaac, is in. The Star Wars star has signed onto Disney+’s Moon Knight series, and aside from Samuel Jackson joining the platform, Isaac may be the biggest star Disney+ has.

Isaac is a talented actor who was nominated for an Oscar for the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and has split his time between the Star Wars trilogy and prestige projects from respected directors like Alex Garland, JC Chandor, and Denis Villeneuve, with whom Isaac made the forthcoming Dune.

Isaac isn’t the first movie star to move to television, and he surely won’t be the last. Over the past decade, the divide between the TV and movie ecosystems has all but disappeared, and with the future of movie theaters in doubt, thanks to the impact of the coronavirus and the explosion of streaming, more and more box office stars may be taking refuge in TV projects.

As long as the people doing TV are as bad-ass as Oscar Isaac, I don’t have a problem with it. It’s also easy to see a future in which Isaac takes Moon Knight from Disney+ to the big screen, if and when movies come back. It’s hard to believe they’d grab such a big name for a minor character and keep him corralled to the small screen.

No word yet on when production will start.