Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to connect with grandparents across the miles (plus Panasonic HomeTeam™ $100 giveaway!)

My kids live 3,000 miles from one set of grandparents and 2,000 miles from the other. As you can imagine, visits are all too infrequent and phone calls with little kids (aged 7, 3, and 5 months) just don't cut it, but I really want to keep my kids connected to our extended families.

That's why I jumped at the chance to review Panasonic's new HomeTeam™ app. It's a video chat specifically geared toward the grands, both older and younger. You can read books, play games, and make family connections, no journey needed.

Who here has hosted stiflingly awkward video chats between your kids and your parents or in-laws? Depending on the age levels of the littles, so much can happen. Staring. Screaming. Racing around the room like a hooligan. Interrupting every word Grandma says to show off another amazing toy. Saying inappropriate things. Thinking it's oh-so-funny to cover up the webcam with a well-placed finger. Toddling off in boredom. {Raises hand for all of the above.}

 

HomeTeam is here to help us out, guys. It relieves all the "but what do I do?" anxiety around video chatting between grandparents and little kids. Because it's not just video chat — it's video chat and then some! You can read books together and play child-friendly games. You finally have something just perfect for building those bridges between the generations, giving them something to do together and lending a natural flow to the conversation. Kids will remember Grandpa next time he comes to visit as the guy who plays checkers and Nana as the person who reads them all those wonderful stories.

 

First off, the app boasts a pleasing and simple interface with just a few well-chosen options. Once you're connected to your loved one, their dear face fills the screen, and you can see and hear each other as you visit.

 

One of the first things my kids requested was for Nana to read them a book. It's a read-aloud time just as if you were close together. We chose a charming and humorous story about learning not to be a hog. It even included a seamless little lesson in rhymes and critical thinking. The library includes all sorts of titles, from classics like Curious George to the latest popular series to educational nonfiction options. The reader-out-louder can control the page flipping, and either party can access the zoom options independently, which is helpful for anyone with limited vision or using a small screen. 

 

We then tried out several fun games, like this Curious George matching game. There are the classics like chess and tic-tac-toe plus new and exclusive games, all perfect for young kids. The grandparent and child go back and forth, with each person's screen becoming active in turn.

 

If you have more than one kid, as I do, ours were able to take turns with each other in each of the games as well, giving both of them practice with the learning involved. Oh, yes — learning. As a homeschooling parent, I'm always in tune with opportunities for education. Games and books like the ones on HomeTeam build logic, memory, math, language, and more, all with the kids not even noticing!

 

On a very practical level, kids are getting so good at computers and smartphones and such nowadays, right? I love that HomeTeam provides a safe and engaging place for them to practice those emerging and crucial skills. For instance, I had no idea my 3-year-old had gotten so good with a mouse trackpad!

 

HomeTeam offers such an enjoyable way to snuggle up and feel close to a grandparent, even over a distance.

The app is available cross-platform and should be simple enough to download and install (which is essential when you're dealing with a cross-generational app, right?). Then you just register, search for your family members, and add them as connections. When you're both available, give someone a call, and you'll soon be seeing and hearing each other across the miles.


Buy it!

Featured content on HomeTeam includes Curious George, This or That?, Jumanji, Martha Speaks, 5 Little Monkeys, and more. New users can try out the entire HomeTeam experience with unlimited access to all content for 30 days. After that, a premium subscription is available for $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year.

HomeTeam is available for download in the App Store and Google Play, so check it out!


Win it!

For a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card from the entries on this blog, please answer this question in the comments:

Which feature of HomeTeam™ are you most excited to use?

Please leave your email address in the comments so I can reach you if you win! You can write it like this to foil spambots: mail {at} HoboMama {dot} com


Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 4/15/2015 – 5/17/2015

Be sure to visit the Panasonic HomeTeam brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!



 

Contest closes May 17.

 
Disclosure: This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Panasonic.
See my full disclosure policy here.



149 comments:

Holly Scudero said...

This sounds so cool!! I am super excited about the reading feature; my son loves to read, and his grandparents love to read to him (especially the grandma who is a children's librarian!); how cool would it be for them to be able to read together, and be able to see the book together in real time, even when they're not able to come visit us in person? I am also interested to find out how user-friendly it is, even for grandparents who are not... technologically savvy, like my own father. We don't get to visit with him often, and I am excited about the idea of them still getting to interact face-to-face.

My email address is hjgscudero {at} gmail {dot} com.

Meegs said...

This sounds perfect as we can absolutely raise our hand for every one of those things you mentioned! My daughter loves Curious George, so I'm sure that would be a hit!

meegs1982online at yahoo dot com

Lisa Brown said...

We would like the interactive games feature.

Lisa Brown said...

my tweet https://twitter.com/LuLu_Brown24/status/588378681791221761

Julie Wood said...

I like that the Panasonic HomeTeam app lets me stay in touch with far away Grandparents and other family members and interact and play games with Grandma and Dad or Mom! Also the reading and playing games app is cool and the best features!

Julie Wood said...

Tweet Entry
https://twitter.com/JewelWood/status/588379281375395840

kellyr78 said...

I am excited to use the game feature, so my kids can play games with relatives they don't get to see much.

kellywcu8888ATgmailDOTcom

kellyr78 said...

Tweet
https://twitter.com/Kellydpa/status/588393108733202432

kellywcu8888ATgmailDOTcom

Elena said...

I am excited to use the video chat feature

elena150980@yahoo.com

Elena said...

https://twitter.com/ElenaIstomina/status/588405670858264576

elena150980@yahoo.com

steve weber said...

I'm most excited to see the video chair feature.

steve weber said...

tweet- https://twitter.com/groogruxking40/status/588424313843257344

Mami2jcn said...

My daughter would enjoy the Curious George matching game.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Mami2jcn said...

tweet--https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/588438997032046592

Dawn Monroe said...

I would enjoy playing games and reading stories to my grand kids.

Madeline B said...

I like the feature where you read stories together. Playing games is always fun, but I'd prefer to do that in person. Reading stories is so important for little ones though, and such a great activity to do together.
madelinebrubaker {at} gmail [dot] com

erika said...

Every feature would be great for my kids when my husband is gone with the military.
chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com

Rhonda G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhonda G said...

Love love love the Nana read them a book!!! I am Nana, and unfortunately all 4 of my grandkids are far away. I would love to be able to do this with them!
The games look great too, I know that my grandson would have a blast playing them.
rhonda 0662 at g mail dot com

Rhonda G said...

Tweeted
https://twitter.com/trrg12/status/589558846596612096
rhonda 0662 at g mail dot com

Madeline B said...

Tweet link: https://twitter.com/shala_darkstone/status/589607326161711105
madelinebrubaker {at} gmail [dot] com

JC said...

I am super excited about the video chat feature. It would be perfect to help connecting with long distance family.
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

JC said...

-https://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/589980311175307264

Elle said...

I like that you can pick a book from their library and read it aloud and have storytime over the computer as if you were face to face.

prettyinhotpink6 at gmail dot com

Elle said...

Tweet: https://twitter.com/PrettyHotPink6/status/590190458799816704

One Frugal Girl said...

I would love my parents to be able to read to my son from their home!
onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

One Frugal Girl said...

https://twitter.com/OneFrugalGirl/status/590537247021211648
onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

latanya t said...

the fun interactive games

dlatany at gmail dot com

latanya t said...

https://twitter.com/sweetums82/status/590561656444444673

dlatany at gmail dot com

Rebecca W. said...

I like the books and games for kids.
michael_weiss at hotmail dot com

laborders2000 said...

https://twitter.com/leighanne000/status/590700571394449408

laborders2000 said...

With family stretched across the US, it si neat to think fo this as a way to conenct them.

lil_lady_dz said...

I am most excited to try the games feature, very cool for the kids to use to stay connected with grandma, grandpa, aunts, and the uncles.

nicole.ddziedzic at gmail dot com

lil_lady_dz said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/lil_lady_dz/status/590703789532938241

nicole.ddziedzic at gmail dot com

Tina said...

i like the Unlimited video chat.
tina19820115@gmail.com

Tina said...

https://twitter.com/HappyTina0115/status/591042378053586945
tina19820115@gmail.com

Maria said...

I especially like the books and games that are included! :) We also live across the US from family, and this sounds great!

(maria.whipple@gmail.com)

Maria said...

I also followed the link in the official rules and filled out the entry form there!

maria dot whipple at gmail dot com

stOOpidgErL said...

My daughter is learning to read so she would love the books.

Anna Pry said...

i tweeted https://twitter.com/thepryfamily2/status/591672759786274817 pryfamily5@gmail.com

Anna Pry said...

we would love using the video chat with our family in other states pryfamily5@gmail.com

MCantu1019 said...

I like the unlimited video chat.
MCantu1019 at aol dot com

eliza elliott said...

I am most excited to use the games feature with my grandparents who are far away from the kids. truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com

eliza elliott said...

https://twitter.com/eliza_elliott/status/593931441781612544 truckredford(at)Gmail(DOt)com

Gina Wildorchid said...

I love that it allows users to read stories together! How cool for grandkids and grandparents that live far away from each other.

Thanks for the chance to win!
wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

Gina Wildorchid said...

tweet--https://twitter.com/WildOrchid985/status/595177437652193280

Aleksandra Nearing said...

My daughter would love to play the tic tac toe game with me! How fun!

samdaleo said...

I am most excited about the Video Chat feature. I love that you can play games and interact with the person/people you are chatting with. My parents and In Laws both live across the country from us and this would be such a fun new way to communicate with them.

Samantha (samdaleo)
jamesmadison1974@gmail.com

samdaleo said...

TWEET!!

https://twitter.com/samdaleo/status/595387872175378432

Thanks!
Samantha (samdaleo)
jamesmadison1974@gmail.com

Stephanie Phelps said...

I am most excited about the book portion. I love to read and I want my kids to enjoy that as well! my4boysand1@gmail.com

Stephanie Phelps said...

I tweeted my4boysand1@gmail.com
https://twitter.com/my4boysand1/status/595831192018100224

Lauren E said...

Id love to use the video chat function to talk to family. neyabenz(at)gmail(dot)com

Angel Jacklyn said...

LOVING THE GAMES FEATURE! afjackly@oakland.edu

Angel Jacklyn said...

2ND ENTRY TWEET! https://twitter.com/kytah00/status/597280633191170048 afjackly@oakland.edu

susan1215 said...

I’m most excited to use the video chat so my children can keep in touch with their Grandparents who live across the country

s2s2 at cox dot net

susan1215 said...

https://twitter.com/susan1215/status/597780564784058369

s2s2 at cox dot net

AnnaZed said...

I think our family might enjoy a shared game playing experience.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com

AnnaZed said...

I posted a tweet too: https://twitter.com/AnnaZed/status/598011605796847616
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com

Kerry said...

I think my kids would like the game aspect the best. They love playing online games with people they know!
nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

Erica Best said...

i think this would great if a parent has to work out of town

Erica Best said...

https://twitter.com/purplelover04/status/598600306193235968

Mysharona said...

I like the interactive games

Aurelie Red said...

I am most excited to use the games feature with my kids and their grandparents ♥
redaurelie(at)gmail(dot)com

Aurelie Red said...

My tweet https://twitter.com/AurelieRed/status/599150197286010880
redaurelie(at)gmail(dot)com

Kim said...

I love that you can use it play games and read books no matter where you are. My DH and I both travel some for work and it would be great to be able to interact with the kids when one of is us gone!
Ashley C
addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com

clc408 said...

Even though we don't live far away, busy schedules prevent me from seeing the kids as often as I would like. Video chat would be a nice way to stay in touch.

clc408 said...

Tweet
https://twitter.com/clc408/status/599163985569669120

Puffy Biggles said...

I'm most excited about the feature that enables you to play games with others. Thanks for the giveaway!

Puffy Biggles said...

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/PuffyBiggles/status/599214105686212608

Sandy Klocinski said...

I am most excited to use the interactive games feature

Sandy Klocinski said...

https://twitter.com/Attea2d/status/599222371074048001

Lauren-Olivia Wood said...

I am most excited to try the video chat option!

nickieisis3 said...

We would like the interactive games feature.

peg42 said...

I'm excited about the video chat. Having family that lives out of state, this would be great for my kids to keep in touch with their Grandparents. Thanks so much. rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

peg42 said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/peg42/status/599261230113632256
Thanks again.
rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

Stephanie said...

fun and engaging multiplayer games looks wonderful! video chat too!
tvollowitz at aol dot com

angie lilly said...

I think the new school way to do an old school thing: reading to each other. I like that alot!
Angie
14earth at gmail dot com

angie lilly said...

I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/MsTofuFairy/status/599271730226536449
Angie
14earth at gmail dot com

sparkedcat said...

I am excited about using the video chat feature of the Home Team app.

sparkedcat said...

Tweeted https://twitter.com/sparkedcat/status/599296101628387329

sksweeps said...

I love that you can see each other!

sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

Denise S. said...

The book reading feature is most exciting to me.

Barbara Montag said...

I'm most exciting about using the HomeTeam’s Real Time Video Chat.
thank you

barbara (dot) montyj (at) gmail (dot) com

Barbara Montag said...

Tweet
https://twitter.com/JalapenoMama/status/599383289271562240

barbara (dot) montyj (at) gmail (dot) com

Erica C. said...

The games are fun.

Lisa Garner said...

I’m most excited about the interactive reading feature.

Lisa Garner said...

I Tweeted: https://twitter.com/lisalmg/status/599402379541237760

mickeyfan said...

My grands are 3 and 1...and 3.5 hours away. They love books, I love to read. Sounds like a perfect fit.

Lisa Voyce said...

I am most excited about the real time chat and am able to help with my granddaughter's learning experiences.

Kimberley Meier said...

I love the video chat feature! All of my family lives overseas so this would help my kids stay connected in a fun way.

Kimberley Meier said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/MRSMEIER5627/status/599440609686859777

brendaelsner said...

I would love the chat feature.

brat52101 at yahoo dot com

Leela said...

Playing games with family.

Shappie said...

I like that the video chat lets you be a part of it as well! Thanks for this giveaway!

Deb K said...

We would like the interactive games feature!

Deb K said...

Tweet!~

https://twitter.com/Deb55106/status/599479759991644160

jtwark said...

My favorite feature is the gaming feature

JOE GERSCH
JOEBISSY@Mail.com

kathy pease said...

The video chat would be my favorite feature..It sounds great :)

kathy pease said...

https://twitter.com/klp1965/status/599545786444152832

Amanda Sakovitz said...

I'm most excited about the video chatting feature!
POKERGRL8 at gmail.com

Amanda Sakovitz said...

https://twitter.com/aes529/status/599563510469758977
POKERGRL8 at gmail.com

Stephanie Larison said...

I’m most excited about the video chat. My girls have grandparents that live far away, so this would be a great way for them to connect, keep in touch, and have fun together.

Stephanie Larison said...

https://twitter.com/Stephanie64030/status/599608790787325952

saturdaynightfever said...

I like the reading stories together aspect.

Haylee said...

Definitely the video chat feature!

happy_haylee_3(at)hotmail.(dot)com

ellie said...

I’m most excited about the video chat. My little grandson is very attached to me. This would allow him to see and speak to me when he starts missing me.

#SweepstakesEntry

ellie said...

tweeted

https://twitter.com/eswright18/status/599623941745848321

#SweepstakesEntry

Anastasia Falling said...

I love that you can connect with your family to play games! What a fun, easy way for the younger kids to keep in touch with the distant relatives. I love that!

Anastasia Falling said...

Tweeted :) - https://twitter.com/Enter_Now/status/599634504928653314

ms-texas said...

i would enjoy the video chat feature to stay in touch with my nieces and nephew who live out of state!

debbiebellows (at) gmail (dot) com

ms-texas said...

i posted a tweet here:

https://twitter.com/bellows22/status/599644134136119296

debbiebellows (at) gmail (dot) com

Welcome to My World said...

My favorite part of this app is that you can share/read a book with another while talking/seeing them online at the same time!

Kathleen Porteous said...

I am most excited about relatives being able to play games and read books to my daughter from another location.

kport207 at gmail dot com

Welcome to My World said...

https://twitter.com/davisesq212/status/599658683237183488

Thomas Murphy said...

I am most excited to use the interactive games feature!

rounder9834 @yahoo.com

Thomas Murphy said...

tweeted
https://twitter.com/thomasmurphy40/status/599666231784931328

rounder9834 @yahoo.com

SexyBrat said...

I'm excited about the interactive games.

Sherry Conrad said...

I like the interactive gaming.
discriminating_diva@yahoo.com

Sherry Conrad said...

Tweeted https://twitter.com/dddiva/status/599673167473344512
discriminating_diva@yahoo.com

Hotsnotty2 said...

I am most excited about the games

Hotsnotty2 said...

https://twitter.com/Hotsnotty2/status/599684816938921984

Kia89 said...

I like the interactive gaming feature.
austma7@aol.com

Amy said...

The video chat feature sounds awesome!

Wendy ArtsyChaos said...

Sounds really great for reading with your grandkids!!
hiwendyhi at yahoo dot com

Wendy ArtsyChaos said...

Tweet:
https://twitter.com/ArtsyChaos/status/599799256468180992
hiwendyhi at yahoo dot com

Birdie Bee said...

The HomeTeam feature I would be most excited to use is the game feature which promotes intereaction across the miles.

birdiebee52 (at) gmail (dot) com

Birdie Bee said...

Tweeted.

https://twitter.com/birdiebee52/status/599806596043046913

Tracey said...

My grandson would enjoy playing games with me while we talked

Janice said...

I’m excited about the variety of games and book feature. I like how you are able to interact with family at a distance.
tweety800265(at)yahoo(dot)com

Janice said...

https://twitter.com/disneyfan40/status/599940671244472320
tweety800265(at)yahoo(dot)com

blyskalp said...

Great Sweeps keep up the good work.

HiiImIcarus said...

I would be most excited for the unlimited video chat, since my family lives far away.

Patricia said...

My children would like to play games with their long-distance cousins and read books with their grandparents.

Quinlan726 (at) aol (dot) com

Kerry said...

tweeted: https://twitter.com/KerryBishop/status/599988387207077888
nuthouse(at)centurytel(dot)net

Tara Overby said...

I'm most excited about the video chat feature! My daughter misses her Aunt so much and it would be so fun for her to be able to see and talk to her whenever she wants!

smilekisses said...

The video chat feature is really awesome.

smilekisses said...

https://twitter.com/smilekisses/status/600005287068631040

Lisa Pecora said...

I like being able to play games but still be able to see/talk to the other person.

motioncitycutie(at)aol(dot)com

Bert Dadtastic said...

I like the interactive gaming feature
iamdadtastic@gmail.com

Bert Dadtastic said...

tweeted https://twitter.com/iamdadtastic/status/600018417505013760
iamdadtastic@gmail.com

slehan said...

I like the ability to read books together while looking at the other person.
Thanks for the contest.

slehan at juno dot com

slehan said...

https://twitter.com/slehan/status/600053173433159680

slehan at juno dot com

Charity/CC said...

I like the interactive game feature.

ccboobooy at gmail dot com

Charity/CC said...

http://twitter.com/ccboobooy/status/600081152477667328

Linda C. said...

Most excited to use the video chat!

Linda C. said...

https://twitter.com/Lindiac/status/600090236987645952

DeniseL said...

I'm really excited to try the interactive books in the app. It would be great for my son's grandparents to be able to read to him from three hours away.

DeniseL said...

tweeted - https://twitter.com/dmarie824/status/600138323013734401

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