5 Smart Toys — Just in time for the holidays, National Geographic Kids presents five “tech-savvy” toys that encourage active participation from kids, along with the science that makes the toys so smart. The Loopz M3 handheld electronic game uses motion-detection technology that will strengthen hand-eye coordination; the Fijit Friends robot uses voice recognition to respond when you speak to it; and the Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone adjusts your singing voice to match a song’s proper pitch using autocorrelation. Check out all five toys on page 20.
Snow Leopard Secrets (Cover Story) — It isn’t the rugged mountain terrain that poses the biggest threat to snow leopards…it’s people. Poachers can sell snow leopard hides and bones for thousands of dollars; herders sometimes kill snow leopards that attack their livestock; and hunters often shoot important snow leopard prey. With just a few thousand of these big cats left in the wild, scientists are using high-tech equipment, such as satellite radio collars, to gather more information about them to help protect them. Find out how you can help by visiting National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative online at kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/big-cats/ or ngbigcats.org. Page 16.
Is it real or is it LEGOLAND? — Want to tour some of the United States’ coolest sites in only one day? You can at LEGOLAND Florida, which opened to the public in October. Along with fun rides and shows in this new amusement park, you’ll find Miniland USA — an entire section filled with models of famous U.S. landmarks built with 20 million LEGO bricks. These scaled-down versions stack up to their real-life counterparts pretty well. Page 26.
No Arms, Amazing Feet — Sixteen-year-old James Dennehy was born without arms, but he doesn’t let that get him down. He uses his feet and toes to text, write, eat, even shoot hoops and drive a car! He’s fun-loving, energetic, has a great sense of humor — and he’s surrounded by supportive friends and family, including an adopted brother who also doesn’t have arms. In his spare time James loves his volunteer work with at-risk kids. He wants to hear your thoughts about his story, so send him a letter to 1145 17th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, attention NG Kids/James. You can find his inspirational story on page 28.
Amazing Animals — When was the last time you saw a dog take his scooter for a spin? How about an elephant showing off some sweet dance steps? This month’s amazing animals will make you think twice about what animals are capable of accomplishing. Readers are encouraged to upload their own amazing animal photos to the NG Kids My Shot page: ngkidsmyshot.com. Page 14.
ALSO: Check out classic video game titles that have stood the test of time on page 10, and go behind the scenes of the new movie “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” on page 22.
National Geographic Kids, a multitopic, photo-driven magazine for 6- to 14-year-olds, empowers its readers by making it fun to learn about the world. Its numerous industry awards include Periodical of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from the Association of Educational Publishers. Published 10 times a year, National Geographic Kids has a circulation of 1.1 million and is available by subscription for $19.95 a year and on newsstands for $4.99 a copy. Its website is at kids.nationalgeographic.com.